Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj says the team didn’t really know what to expect from the Rawalpindi surface on day one of the second Test against Pakistan on Thursday.
In the lead-up to the clash, both camps were rather unsure of what awaited them when play got under way.
Maharaj and the rest of the Proteas bowlers, made a quick start pinning Pakistan down on 22-3.
But, a century stand by Babar Azam and Fawad Alam helped the hosts reach 145-3 when rain ended the day’s play.
‘Everyone was a bit confused as to what to expect. It was pretty hard and with some moisture it might bind it together come tomorrow. I think tomorrow, at the end of the day, we might have a clearer understanding as to what the wicket does and how it is going to deteriorate, if it deteriorates,’ Maharaj said at day’s end.
Proteas coach Mark Boucher highlighted the fact the team needs to be ready any conditions and that the Pakistan team was also unsure about how the surface might look like.
‘The morning session was pretty crucial. They [Azam and Falam] played really well. They absorbed the pressure nicely and sort of bided their time. After lunch it was a little bit easier to bat on the wicket.
‘We saw as the day went on the moisture sort of slipped away from the surface. The turn was minimised substantially,’ continued Maharaj.
The Proteas were dealt a big blow, however, when George Linde left the field with a pinky-finger injury. Cricket South Africa confirmed a scan showed no fracture and that Linde will be assessed before being allowed back on to the field.
The incident created an air of extra expectation for Maharaj, who had to recover from a rib problem himself in the buildup to the match.
‘It’s really unfortunate. He [Linde] was bowling really well. I was a bit concerned for his own well-being. I’m glad to know he is feeling a lot better and hopefully if everything goes well, he should take the field tomorrow at some stage,’ Maharaj added.