As with the first day, the pitch was very lively for the first six overs of the second day of the second test between South Africa and Pakistan.
Once again the Proteas had a good start.
Pakistan’s danger man, Babar Azam who had looked invincible during day one, fell to the bowling of Anrich Nortje on the second ball of the day without adding to his overnight score of 77.
Fawad Alam fell to a magnificent direct hit by Temba Bavuma after adding only three runs for the day, finishing on 45.
This was followed by a good spell for South Africa. While Faheem Ashraf remained unbeaten on 78 at the end of the innings, the Pakistani tail did very little wagging. With four players scoring 18 tentative runs, the Pakistan innings ended on 272.
After only five overs played in South Africa’s first innings, no pattern has been established, but it may look as if Elgar (15 runs off 21 balls) and Markram (10 runs off 15 balls) have taken on an aggressive stance facing the new ball.
For the last two days the wicket has heavily favoured the bowlers earlier in the day. If South Africa’s front line batters can weather that storm and score quickly, they will be hailed for playing positively.
If they fail, they will be condemned for being impatient.
And that is the essence of five-day cricket. How South Africa comes out of this duel within a duel, may very well determine the outcome of the test and the series. The match, as commentators are fond of saying, is finely poised.
Picture source: @OfficialCSA