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Pakistan sinks further on Day 3

South Africa edges closer to levelling two-match series

Pakistan sinks further on Day 3 - Cricket News
Saeed Ajmal's six wickets were the lone bright spot on yet another dismal day for Pakistan.
Pakistan ended on 132 for 4 in its second innings on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at Dubai Sports City on Friday (October 25), with a massive deficit of 286 runs after South Africa posted a first-innings total of 517 all out.
 
AB de Villiers added just seven to his overnight total – including a stunning straight drive to the boundary against Mohammad Irfan – before Irfan, the giant left armer, claimed revenge with another that attracted the drive but angled across de Villiers to find the edge. However, Adnan Akmal’s revenge for dropping de Villiers first ball came 164 runs later.
 
Graeme Smith followed the ‘one follows the other quickly after a big partnership’ edict although there was nothing loose about either Saeed Ajmal’s ripping turner or the faultless defensive push, which resulted in a catch to Younis Khan at slip. Smith added just seven to his overnight score and departed with 234 from 388 deliveries, 16 of which he hit for four. Suddenly, Smith’s assertion the previous evening that “we will definitely bat for the morning session” seemed a touch optimistic, especially with lunch being pushed back 30 minutes to accommodate Friday prayers.
 
Just 39 further runs were added before the innings was brought to a close but not before the day’s first controversy, when Irfan was warned a third time for running on the pitch during his follow through. Irfan was removed from the attack for the rest of the innings shortly after bowling JP Duminy with a beauty to finish with a hard-earned 3 for 102.
 
Ajmal then claimed the final three wickets for an even harder-earned analysis of 6 for 151 from 55.5 overs. With Pakistan having used up four reviews in 160 overs, Ajmal called for a fifth when Morne Morkel appeared to edge a delivery to Akmal in the 162nd over when Ajmal, presumably, believed Pakistan were due their second ‘top up’ having completed their second allotment of 80 overs.
 
There was time for just two overs before the elongated morning session came to an end, but that was time enough for Pakistan to lose both openers. Shan Masood will take no comfort from the fact that Dale Steyn’s signature delivery has been too good for the best batsmen in the world for over five years, both right and left handed. Right handers edge the fast, impossibly late away swinger into the slip cordon. Left handers have it even worse as the delivery swings from just outside off stump and thuds into the pads in front of middle and leg. Masood asked for a review, possibly just so he could see the replay on his way back to the changing room in order to make sense of what happened.
 
Khurram Manzoor became the seventh Pakistani opener to record a pair when he edged Vernon Philander’s fifth delivery to Jacques Kallis at slip and the home side took lunch with as many runs and wickets lost.
 
It was much harder work for the rest of the day with the batsmen digging in and attempting what would be one of the longest innings in history to save a Test. Despite facing 73 balls, Azhar Ali managed to look almost as uncomfortable at the end of his tenure at the crease as he was at the beginning. The first ball from Duminy turned just enough to earn the lbw decision.
 
Younis fought with characteristic belligerence and had just begun to look settled against Imran Tahir when he was bowled. Younis has a habit of making every sweep shot look ugly, as though he’s swatting away a deadly spider rather than a cricket ball, but this one looked especially bad. At 70 for 4 there was even still a chance that the game could finish inside three days, but Misbah-ul-Haq, yet again, was the man for a crisis.
 
Having pointed ground security in the direction of a couple of abusive spectators – who were then escorted from the ground earlier in the day, the Pakistan captain could have been forgiven for being distracted, but it takes far more than a big mouth to disturb one of the coolest demeanours in world cricket.
 
Misbah had moved to 41 just moments before the floodlit close of play when there was time for just one more incident. Another sweep shot appeared to have gone off Misbah’s glove before hitting his forearm and ballooning to de Villiers, but a prolonged investigation by third umpire produced insufficient evidence to overturn the not out decision.   

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