The resilience of Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq took Pakistan from the verge of another batting humiliation to relative respectability against South Africa by tea on day one Thursday of the second test.
Both batsmen brought up half-centuries shortly before tea at Newlands and took their partnership to exactly 100 for Pakistan to go into the break on 133-4.
But Younis’ unbeaten 54, and Shafiq’s unbeaten 50, ensured there would be no repeat of that embarrassment as they ground out the second session.
The visitors lost the first test by 211 runs, all 20 of their wickets falling to the Proteas’ quicks, and their insecurities against the Proteas’ fast—bowling battery were clear in the morning session, as Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel took ruthless advantage.
Yet Shafiq was one of two batsmen captain Misbah—ul—Haq being the other who stood up to the South Africans at the Wanderers and he found an experienced ally in Younis.
South Africa’s pace attack ensured that runs were hard to come by at the start of the second session, but found little assistance from a slow pitch as the ball lost its shine.
The two batsmen opened up as the afternoon wore on, and Younis went to his half—century in 133 balls, before Shafiq reached the landmark and his 1,000th test run in the final over before tea.
Graeme Smith had won the toss and elected to bowl in his 100th test as captain of an unchanged South Africa, and his fast bowlers responded superbly.
Philander began Pakistan’s slide in the eighth over. One ball after Nasir Jamshed was dropped in the slips, Philander induced Nasir to step forward into a delivery on off stump and send a thick edge behind to give AB de Villiers the first of his two morning catches.
Steyn got Mohammed Hafeez, on 17, to prod at another moving away off the off stump and into the safe hands of Smith.
Morkel struck a double blow in the 17th over when Azhar Ali drove and edged behind on 4, then Misbah came and lasted four balls without scoring. Misbah fended a short ball off his gloves and sent it to Dean Elgar at short leg.