Asad Shafiq was one of three Pakistan batsmen to make a fighting half-century and force South Africa to bat again in the second Test in Cape Town.
Shafiq top-scored with 82 as the visitors pushed their total to 294 on Saturday, 5 January, the third day of the Newlands Test, thus requiring Faf du Plessis' men to come back on the fourth day to make 41 runs for victory.
Shafiq, who made a century at the same ground five years ago, was disappointed at missing out this time. "I am disappointed because I was playing well and my team needed a big century," he said. "As an individual, I also wanted to score a century, but it's a part of the game, it happens."
That's stumps, and South Africa wil begin their second innings tomorrow needing 41 runs to win.— ICC (@ICC) January 5, 2019
Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn took four wickets each, but Babar Azam's belligerent half-century ensured the hosts will need to bat again.#SAvPAK SCORE 👇https://t.co/sT3TAzx0C3 pic.twitter.com/5ykdCF2tLI
Along with him, Babar Azam and Shan Masood were among the runs, while Sarfraz Ahmed found some touch in the first innings. Shafiq felt it would help the team take some confidence into the next Test.
"You can take positives from this innings," he said. "Our batting line-up wasn't doing well, but now everybody has got some runs. It's a good sign for the team."
A feature of the batsman's knock was how he took the attack to the pacers. The short ball had been a potent weapon for the home bowlers, but playing with positivity on a pitch that eventually took the bite off the rising deliveries, he refused to be cowed down.
"I think the pitch was such that if you get in, you have good value for your shots"
"Yes, that was my plan, that I have to play the pull shot because there was no square leg," he explained. "If you want to score quickly you have to play the pull shot, so I had that in mind.
"When we first came here five years ago, I scored a century which I had on my mind. I was playing [well], and I was confident. The ball was coming on very nicely to my bat and it was just a matter of time I converted it into a big innings."
Having taken the time to settle down, he capitalised. "They have a great bowling attack that puts the ball into the right areas, so you have to be patient at the same time as you attack. It's not easy to bat against the South African bowling attack. They are world-class bowlers. The positive mindset I was in, I was trying to just play my shots if the ball is in the area.
"I think the pitch was such that if you get in, you have good value for your shots [on a] good outfield. My plan was to see off the first 20 balls," he added.
"It was a bit easier today, the ball [didn't hit] too many cracks. The positive mindset helped me a lot to play my shots and the pitch was a bit easier today as compared to the first and second day."
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