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South Africa wins despite Shafiq heroics

Fifth-wicket stand of 197 delays the inevitable but South Africa wraps up series-levelling win by fourth day

South Africa wins despite Shafiq heroics - Cricket News
Asad Shafiq's valiant 130 went in vain as Pakistan lost the match by an innings and 92 runs.
The writing was on the wall for Pakistan, as emphatic as Banksy graffiti, when it allowed itself to be bowled out for 99 before tea on the first day, but it certainly made South Africa work hard on the fourth day to finally earn its series-levelling victory in the second Test at Dubai Sports City on Saturday (October 26).
Pakistan was finally dismissed for 326 an hour before the close of play to lose by an innings and 92 runs, but the South Africans sweated plenty and had to rely on a late clatter of wickets to earn itself a day off.
A fifth-wicket partnership of 197 between Asad Shafiq, the centurion, and Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain, threatened to take the game deep into the fifth day when the two obdurate and determined right handers batted until five overs before tea, having resumed together at the start of play with the total on 132 for 4.
South Africa may have been deflated by the ball-tampering events of the day before, or perhaps it was guilty of relying too much on the effect of the second new ball, which was due 25 overs after the start of play, but it looked flat from the first over and remained that way for much of the day.
A vast first-innings lead and two days to make it count would make any team confident of victory but when that second new ball was 25 overs old and had lost its initial shine and hardness, South Africa may just have started to think about the unimaginable. Could Misbah do a Hanif Mohammad and bat for 15 hours?
It was a sign of the concern Graeme Smith had about the situation that he turned to a seventh bowler in his quest for a breakthrough – and duly got it. Dean Elgar, the occasional left-arm spinner, pitched one full and wide to Misbah who was understandably tempted by the cover drive and accepted the invitation. It spun, however, and Jacques Kallis accepted the catch at slip to send an appalled Misbah back to the dressing room after 88 from 218 deliveries.
Misbah had the look of a man who sensed a fatal door had been opened, and he was right. Imran Tahir trapped both Adnan Akmal and Saeed Anwar lbw to finish with a match analysis of 8 for 130 and a well-deserved Man of the Match award.
Shafiq had been the model of circumspection – not overly defensive, but certainly not inclined towards attack. It was classic run gathering of an old-fashioned sort; careful and unconcerned about modern pifferies such as run rate. His shot selection was outstanding. Only when he was certain the ship was sinking, when he saw Mohammad Irfan walking out to join him, did he open up and attack.
JP Duminy’s offspin accounted for Irfan, bowled through the gate, and Shafiq’s marathon vigil came to an end when he darted down the wicket looking for a single against Duminy to protect last man Junaid Khan. AB de Villiers completed the simplest of stumpings. Shafiq’s 130, from 320 deliveries against the best bowling attack in the game, could and probably should be significant enough an achievement to fast forward his career.
It was South Africa’s 100th Test victory since post-apartheid readmission to the international game in 1991 and, remarkably, the 51st of Smith’s captaincy, the most by any captain in history. It was also the first defeat for Pakistan in the UAE for ten years.

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