Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took two wickets for only eight runs as he led a South African fightback against Pakistan in their first Test at Karachi Tuesday. Pakistan was in trouble 33 for four at the end of the game after throwing out the visitors for 220 – their second lowest total in the country. Fourteen wickets fell on the brownish field of the National Stadium, which was expected to spin from day one. South Africa was well placed at 108-2 shortly after lunch, but lost their last eight wickets for just 112 runs – barely managing to revise their lowest total in Pakistan, the 214 made in Faisalabad in 1997.
Spinners Yasir Shah (3-54), rookie Nauman Ali (2-38) and pacemaker Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-49) took care of the damage.
But then Rabada paid back the hosts with interest, bowling Abid Ali (four) in his third and rookie Imran Butt (nine) got caught on a leg slip from a soaring pitch.
He now has 199 wickets from 44 tests.
Babar Azam, who led Pakistan for the first time in a test, fell to spinner Keshav Maharaj for seven weeks before night watchman Shaheen was thrown by Anrich Nortje without scoring.
At the end, Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam were unbeaten at five each – with Pakistan behind with 187 runs with six wickets intact.
Previously, opener Dean Elgar scored the highest score for South Africa with 58, while George Linde (35) and Rabada (21 not out) were other notable contributors.
Lamenting his side’s poor at bat, Elgar said South Africa now had the upper hand.
“I wouldn’t have said that after our battle, but then we fought back by taking wickets,” he said.
“Knowing that this field is going to get tougher, and knowing we have good spinners, I am confident we can progress.”
Elgar hit his 16th Test half-century – punctuated with nine boundaries – before slipping Nauman into Azam’s hands.
Elgar and Faf du Plessis (23) had stabilized the innings in their 45-run score for the third wicket after Aiden Markram (13) and Rassie van der Dussen (17) were fired in the first session.
Both sides entered the Test with two spinners and three pace adjusters.
The two-match series marks South Africa’s first tour to Pakistan in 14 years, a positive step in the resurgence of international cricket in the host country.
A deadly attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 froze international travel to Pakistan before gradually resuming in recent years.
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