Yasir Shah helps Pakistan foil South Africa fight in first Test

Published January 28, 2021
Nauman Ali, center back, and teammates celebrate after the dismissal of South Africa's Aiden Markram during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and South Africa at the National Stadium in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday. — AP
Nauman Ali, center back, and teammates celebrate after the dismissal of South Africa's Aiden Markram during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and South Africa at the National Stadium in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday. — AP
Dean Elgar, left, and Aiden Markram run between the wickets during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and South Africa at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday. — AP
Dean Elgar, left, and Aiden Markram run between the wickets during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and South Africa at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday. — AP
Pakistan were bowled out for 378 on the third day of the opening Test in Karachi on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: ICC Twitter
Pakistan were bowled out for 378 on the third day of the opening Test in Karachi on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: ICC Twitter

Pakistan's spinners Yasir Shah and Nauman Ali grabbed three wickets in the space of ten runs to halt South Africa's fightback on the third day of the first Test in Karachi on Thursday.

When it looked like South Africa would end the day at parity after wiping out Pakistan's big 158-run first-innings lead, Yasir struck twice and Nauman once to leave the tourists on 187-4 at close.

Nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj was unbeaten on two and skipper Quinton de Kock was yet to score, as South Africa now lead by 29 runs with six second-innings wickets in hand.

Earlier, Pakistan scored 378 to take a crucial lead over South Africa's first innings total of 220.

Opener Aiden Markram, who scored a polished 74 for his 8th fifty, added 127 for the second wickets with Rassie van der Dussen who scored a solid 64.

But Yasir, with figures of 3-53, changed the scenario by dismissing Dussen caught and then trapped Faf Du Plessis leg-before for ten, while Nauman had Markram caught by a close-in fielder to trigger a three-wicket collapse in 33 balls.

Markram, dropped on 27 by Pakistan skipper Babar Azam off spinner Yasir, also had a leg-before decision overturned on four.

Dussen also had a leg-before decision overturned on 56. Markram hit ten boundaries and Dussen five.

Both Yasir and Nauman will be major threats for South Africa on a fourth-day National stadium pitch which produced 14 wickets on day one, four on the second, and six on the third.

South Africa were off to a confident start with Markram and Dean Elgar defying Pakistan's attack, and were 37 without loss at lunch.

Elgar, in visible discomfort after being hit on the left hand by a rising delivery from pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, was caught by diving wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan off Yasir for 29.

In the morning, Pakistan's tail added 70 runs to frustrate South Africa, who were looking for quick wickets.

South Africa's pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada bowled Hasan Ali for 21 to reach 200 wickets in his 44th Test.

Rabada, 25, is the eighth South African to take 200 or more Test wickets.

Pakistan were 323-9 at that point, but Yasir and Nauman added 55 valuable runs for the final wicket.

Yasir, who scored a Test century in Australia in 2019, hit a six and four fours in his 38 not out, while debutant Nauman scored three boundaries before falling for 24.

Rabada with 3-70 and spinner Maharaj, who took 3-90, were the pick of the South African bowlers.

On Wednesday, Fawad Alam led Pakistan's recovery against South Africa after scoring his first Test century at home.

Fawad reached the milestone, his third tonne in Test cricket, with a six over long-on to left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

The two-match Test series is South Africa's first in Pakistan for 14 years. The second Test will be played in Rawalpindi from February 4.

The hosts have won only one of their previous seven Tests against South Africa in Pakistan, with the visitors claiming two victories to go with four draws.

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