South Africa won the first Test against Pakistan by six wickets on just the third day of the game courtesy of Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar’s gritty 63 and 50 runs respectively while chasing a small total of 149.
Proteas are 1-0 up in the three-match Test series, however, the remaining games are expected to be exciting ones. Here is what we learned from the opening Test between Pakistan and South Africa.
Pakistan’s solid bowling line
Pakistani bowlers once again proved that they are match-winners, they can defend even a moderate total. They wrapped up South Africa on 223 in the first inning and choked the opposition in the second inning while they were chasing 149. If the bowlers had 50 runs more on the board, the outcome might have been in Pakistan’s favour.
Fragile lower order
Pakistan’s top order is being often criticised for being fragile, but the first Test revealed that the lower-order is probably more vulnerable. Due to Sarfraz Ahmed’s lack of form at no. 7, Pakistan’s tail starts when they are five down. Moreover, other than Hasan Ali, none of the tailenders shows any resistance against bowlers. However, Babar Azam impressed everyone batting at no. 6.
Asad Shafiq may need some rest
One of the senior batsmen of Pakistan, Asad Shafiq has been completely out of the groove. He is unable to stay at the wicket and score runs. Haris Sohail, who missed the first Test against South Africa due to a knee injury, can be a replacement to Shafiq in the middle-order if he attains complete fitness.
Imam Ul Haq and Shan Masood are bright prospects
Imam Ul Haq played a courageous knock of 57 runs in the second inning, proved that he can be an asset for Pakistan. Though the pitch was tough to bat on, Imam looked comfortable after a nervous and lucky start. Similarly, Shan Masood batted brilliantly for his 65, he was confident at the crease and played well with the tailenders. The two batted bravely under pressure.
The wicket for the first Test of the series did not offer anything to the spinners. Yasir Shah bowled just four overs in the first inning and 7.4 in the second inning with one wicket to his name. On the other hand, Proteas’ Keshav Maharaj also looked toothless on the green surface. If the pitches for the upcoming games are of same nature, Pakistan can include their key pacer, Mohammad Abbas in place of the leggie Yasir Shah and go with all pace attack.