The first day of the Boxing Day test between South Africa and Pakistan turned out to be a nightmare for the Pakistani batsmen. The batting line once again faltered and both the openers, Imam ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman failed to make an impact.
Hopes of making a confident statement on the very first day of the Pakistan vs. South Africa test was badly shattered by our batsmen as they stumbled on.
One cannot even fathom the score they managed to put up on the board in the first innings:
Green shirts won the toss against the home side in the first test and opted to bat first. Sarfaraz expressed stern belief over his batsmen but they only disappointed him, to say the least.
Pakistan’s poor batting performance
Imam ul Haq was bowled out by Rabada on a duck while Fakhar Zaman returned to the pavilion on Dale Steyn’s ball. He went off after making 12 runs.
The next two batsmen also followed the lead and performed miserably in front of the South African pacers. Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq both fell into Oliver’s trap and just contributed 26 runs in total. The cumulative score of the top four batsmen was just 38 runs.
Before lunch, Pakistan successfully made 76 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
The middle order did not provide any further support either and rarely did anyone enter into double figures. After little resistance, Pakistan’s innings ended on 181. The only saving graces were Babar Azam and Azhar Ali.
Babar Azam saves the day
The crumbling scene broke the heart of every Pakistani fan and left us wondering what is wrong with our batsmen after all?
In these deplorable conditions, only one batsman stood out:
Babar Azam’s stunning 71 allowed the team to make progress towards a decent score. His amazing 10 fours against Dale Steyn on just 24 deliveries were an absolute treat for the cricket lovers. However, he finally also became a victim of Rabada’s bowling, bringing an end to his phenomenal innings.
Dale Steyn makes history
While our Shaheens continued to show a dismal performance on the field, it was the South African bowlers who shined through. Fast bowler Dale Steyn made history by becoming the highest wicket taking South African bowler.
Steyn knocked out Fakhar Zaman for 12 and secured his 422nd wicket in Test cricket, making him the top bowler. Many legends of the game including AB Villiers and Shaun Pollock congratulated Steyn on this remarkable feat.
South African bowling attack
Oliver became the most successful bowler of the innings having taken six wickets while youngster Rabada took four wickets.
Dale Steyn only managed to pick one wicket today.
The story continues
Although Pakistan’s appalling performance disappointed fans all around, one should not give up hope so early. Pakistani bowlers are putting up a tough competition and have already bowled out four South African batsmen.
The first day of the test match turned out to be quite eventful, let’s see what the days further bring in.
You can check ball by ball updates on PCB’s Official website.
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Picture Credits: Dawn