KARACHI (Web Desk) – Pakistan were relentless on the fourth day in Karachi as they won the first of two Tests, snuffing out South Africa and chasing down the small target with an intent to dominate.
South Africa were left to rue the slide that rocked them late on the third day, when they lost their set batsmen. Their struggles with the bat continued in the fourth morning, as they managed to add just 58 runs in the morning for the loss of six wickets. They were bowled out for 245, with Nauman Ali (5/35) and Yasir Shah (4/79) doing most of the damage.
It meant Pakistan needed just 88 runs to seal victory, which they promptly managed to within two sessions of the day, despite losing their openers. The victory meant they swapped positions with South Africa in the ICC World Test Championship table, moving to No.5.
The omens weren’t encouraging for South Africa – Keshav Maharaj, the nightwatchman, was cleaned up by Hasan Ali on the very first ball of the day. That brought together Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma, and the impression was, if South Africa had to set a daunting target for the home side, this pair had to flourish.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Yasir had sniffed blood. Within the fourth over of the morning, South Africa lost their captain, an inside-edge off the pads ending up at short leg. Thereafter, it was down to the last established pair of batsmen for South Africa – George Linde and Bavuma.
The duo resisted for nearly 14 overs, during the course of which they managed to take the lead past the 50-run mark. However, the impression was always that Pakistan merely needed a breakthrough to expose South Africa. And so they did.
An inside-edge from Linde, after a 29-ball 11, was sharply taken by Imran Butt at leg slip, and South Africa didn’t last long thereafter. Four wickets fell for just 11 runs, with the final blow being struck when Bavuma was trapped in front by Nauman Ali. It proved a memorable occasion for Nauman, who ended with a five-wicket haul and became the oldest player since 1949 to take a five-for on Test debut.
There was no stopping Pakistan thereafter. Anrich Nortje had both Imran Butt and Abid Ali dismissed in the eighth over – he had Abid bowled before inducing an edge off Butt in the final ball of the over. Despite that, Pakistan seemed in a hurry to finish the chase.
Azhar Ali and Babar Azam put on 63 for the third wicket, off just 85 deliveries, and while Azam fell right at the end, trapped in front by Maharaj, the Fawad Alam, the first-innings hero, came on to fittingly score the winning runs.