After bowling Pakistan out for 181, the Proteas ended day one of the Boxing Day Test in Centurion on 127-5, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
It was a day that saw domination in sessions. The Proteas bowlers took control of the first two sessions, followed by the Pakistan bowlers returning the favour in the final session as both teams’ batsmen struggled to cope with an unpredictable Centurion pitch.
Dale Steyn hogged the limelight in the first session after becoming South Africa’s leading wicket-taker – surpassing Shaun Pollock’s 421 wickets in 108 games by removing Fakhar Zaman for 12 in his 89th Test to take his 422nd wicket.
This set the tone for a destructive session that saw Kagiso Rabada take a wicket and Duanne Olivier snap up two as Pakistan limped into lunch with 76-4 on the board.
Session two was highlighted by a masterclass contribution from Olivier that saw Pakistan skittled for 181. The 26-year-old was sublime with the ball in hand, taking four wickets after lunch to finish with a maiden five-for that was converted into career-best Test figures of 6-37.
Babar Azam batted bravely through the pressure for his 79-ball 71 to give the visitors some hope, but Rabada claimed his third victim. Azam’s contribution, with help from Hasan Ali (20), lifted Pakistan from 111-8 to 178-9, before Olivier finished off the visitors.
After an early break for tea, the Proteas lost Aiden Markram leg before for 12. This brought a struggling Hashim Amla out to the middle with Dean Elgar, who took his time to get settled in.
Neither batsmen survived long at the crease, with Amla dismissed for eight by Mohammad Amir and Elgar managing 22 before he was dispatched by 18-year-old speedster Shaheen Afridi. Du Plessis came to the middle and left quickly without scoring when Shaheen dismissed the Proteas captain to reduce the home side to 43-4.
Theunis de Bruyn and Temba Bavuma helped their side past the 100-run mark, but De Bruyn only managed 29 before Mohammad Amir picked up his second wicket of the innings.
Bavuma managed to survive till the end of the day’s play to remain unbeaten on 38 alongside Steyn, who was brought in as a night watchman, contributing two fours for his unbeaten 13 as the Proteas ended day one with 127-5 to trail the visitors by 54 runs going into the second day.
Pakistan 181 (Babar Azam 71, Azhar Ali 36; Duanne Olivier 6-37, Kagiso Rabada 3-59, Dale Steyn 1-66).
Proteas 127-5 (Temba Bavuma 38 not out, Theunis de Bruyn 29; Mohammad Amir 2-26, Shaheen Afridi 2-36)
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images