It’s been more than 13 years since the Proteas last toured Pakistan. ANDRE HUISAMEN unpacks that journey.
The Proteas headed to Pakistan at the end of 2007 on a competitive tour of two Test matches and five ODIs.
Having faced Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates a couple of times since that tour, the Proteas are now gearing up to achieve similar success as in 2007.
Current Proteas coaches Mark Boucher and Charl Langeveldt were both part of the two squads that travelled to Pakistan back then.
Into battle, Graeme Smith led a team busy establishing themselves as one of the powerhouse Test nations in the world.
The Proteas had faced Pakistan in South Africa a couple of months prior to their tour, comfortably winning the Test, ODI and T20 series.
The challenge in Pakistan, though, was always going to be a lot more difficult but Smith’s charges showed grit and determination. The burgeoning growth of the team as a unit under Micky Arthur became evident on that tour, with the Proteas announcing themselves as a world-class Test team.
In the first Test the Karachi National Stadium, the Proteas piled on the runs in the first innings, having won the toss and deciding to bat first.
Jacques Kallis’ brilliance guided the visitors to 450 all out, thanks to a world-class knock of 155, while Herschelle Gibbs, still opening the batting at that stage, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers added respective half-centuries.
A Paul Harris five-wicket haul gave the Proteas a huge lead before another ton by the magnificent Kallis under trying conditions pinned down the Pakistani team.
Another dominant bowling display, this time by Dale Steyn claiming five, had the hosts fall well short as the Proteas won the game by 160 runs.
The second and final Test encounter was a lot tighter, although the Proteas remained in control. A gutsy 133 by Smith at the top of the order and another unbeaten century in the second innings from Kallis, left Pakistan with another mountain to climb to avoid defeat.
But, a resilient 130 by Younis Khan meant Pakistan saw out the game without too much damage as the teams settled for a draw. It was also the final time Pakistan stalwart Inzamam-ul-Haq represented his country, announcing his retirement before the game.
The Proteas, however, won the series as a result with Kallis named Player of the Series for the 421 runs he accumulated, while Harris picked up the most wickets in the series – 12.
The Test series victory sparked a run of ten unbeaten results for Arthur’s men in the longer format.
The following ODI series, though, tested the Proteas’ depth in limited-overs cricket, while Pakistan pulled out some big guns for the five matches.
Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Yousuf were just some of the names for that ODI series. Luckily, the Proteas had some match-winners of their own with Makhaya Ntini especially impressive with the ball.
The Proteas won the opening ODI before Pakistan hit back with wins in the following two encounters. It meant the fourth clash in Multan was do or die for Smith’s men.
A rare 90 by Shaun Pollock eased the Proteas to a seven-wicket victory, setting up the deciding final match with the series locked at 2-2.
Kallis made 86 and Ntini claimed four wickets as the Proteas narrowly edged Pakistan by 14 runs, winning the series 3-2.