AB hits fifty as SA hang in to win 2nd Test
AB de Villiers scored a crucial fifty as South Africa came back strongly to beat Pakistan in the second Test at Newlands, taking the series 2-0 on Sunday.
Put in to bat first on Thursday, SA’s pacers had reduced Pakistan to 33/4 in 17 overs before Younis Khan (111) and Asad Shafiq (111) rescued them with a 219 run partnership for the 5th wicket. Tanvir Ahmed chipped in with 44 as Pakistan managed to post a respectable first innings total of 338. Vernon Philander took his 9th 5 wicket haul in just his 15th Test, taking 5/59 in the first innings.
Saeed Ajmal’s masterful display on Friday reduced South Africa to 109/5 at one point on Day 2. Hashim Amla and Ajmal battled beautifully in a passage of play, the batsman walking across his stumps or playing reverse sweeps to unsettle him but Ajmal still had the last laugh, trapping him LBW. He took all the five South African wickets that had fallen on Day 2, ending with 5/41 at the close of play.
AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar led the fightback, taking SA to 139/5 at Stumps on Day 2. The resistance continued in the morning as they grew their 6th wicket partnership to 55 before Ajmal got rid of Elgar to make his haul 6 wickets out of 6.
AB carried on, attacking Umar Gul whenever easy was offered and brought up his fifty off 91b with a pulled four off Ajmal. Ajmal’s hopes of taking all ten wickets were dashed when Mohammad Irfan later claimed de Villiers’ (61, 113b, 7x4) wicket, leaving SA at 210/7.
Robin Peterson’s hit his career best score of 84 and added partnerships of 67 with Philander, 26 with Steyn and 23 with Morne Morkel to take South Africa to a first innings total of 326. The last 3 wickets had added 116 runs, eating into the massive lead that Pakistan were on their way to securing at one point. Ajmal finished with 6/96, Pakistan’s lead diminished to 12 runs.
Philander (4/40), Peterson (3/73) and Steyn (3/38) once again ran through Pakistan in the second innings, bowling them out for 169. Both the openers were dismissed for a duck before Azhar Ali (65) and Misbah ul Haq (44) tried to steady things. But the middle order collapse saw them go from 147/4 to 152/8 in the space of two overs. Soon, they had been bowled out for 169, setting South Africa a target of 182.
SA lost Alviro Peterson early but marched towards the total briskly with Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla in the middle. The team’s 50 came off just 67b before Smith was dismissed and Jacques Kallis scored a quick 21 out of a 25 run partnership with Amla. AB de Villiers walked in next and survived a loud appeal by Ajmal for LBW before cutting loose against Tanvir Ahmed.
SA lost Amla (58), de Villiers (36) and Faf du Plessis (15) fell within a few overs of each other but SA’s scoring rate never dropped off. By the time Ajmal dismissed du Plessis to claim his 10th wicket of the match, they just needed 2 to win. Peterson played out a maiden over off Mohammad Hafeez before Dean Elgar hit the winning runs off Ajmal to seal a 4 wicket win in the second Test and a 2-0 series win with a Test to spare.