Friday, February 1, 2013

Analysis of the 1st Day of the South Africa versus Pakistan Test Series

Stumps, Day 1:

Pakistan 6 for 0 (Hafeez 6*, Jamshed 0*) trail South Africa 253 (Kallis 50, Hafeez 4-16) by 247 runs

With all the talk in the lead up to this series revolving around Pakistan's 'unknown', the first day of the series saw the South Africa be introduced to its reality. A reality that was startling in its unexpected nature as well as having a sincere intimidatory clout attached to it.

None of the flash, razzle dazzle and freakish brilliance that has always been associated with the Men in Green that had sides be on their guard against them was its definition. But its basis was all the more frightening and confronting for the opposition with it being based around a substance and professionalism that has rarely been seen in Pakistan sides. Seeing it on show in this first day had you in awe with the Misbah ul Haq Team exuding such professionalism in every thing they did and the flakiness that has always been a Cross for Pakistan Teams to bear was replaced by a steely resolved that saw them never lose their belief and be so relentless in their every intent.

Their bowling was awe inspiring in its eclectic brilliance and supported by Misbah's genius use of them that would have given homage to Kasparov type Chess manoeuvring.

Oh yes, their fielding was exceptional as well, and that sincerely Un Pakistani statement shows how very uncharacteristic they were.

Away from the Pakistani spotlight that deserved such airing, the hosts were a tad disappointing in their batting. Sure the pitch was supportive of the fine Pakistani bowling, but it had no real demons in it to see a batting line up as lauded and talented as South Africa's succumb for only 253. They only had themselves to blame too with all of the top 6 getting starts only for them to waste them.

A highlight of the day was the game changing catches from Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq to dismiss the South African King Pins in Hashim Amla and Jacque Kallis. Granted they were brilliant catches, but set up by ill disciplined shots from batting Masters. In a word, true gifts from ones that never have the word 'giving' associated with them.

The one aspect of the days play that would have had the Pakistani Coaches wide eyed was the South African foibles against spin. Or in fact not against spin, but Mohammad Hafees quick straight ones that provided a real humorous irony with all of his victims guarding against spin without realising he rarely if ever turns one

Ultimately these were the main talking points of the first day, but as the game goes on it will be governed by some of Crickets well used clich├ęs

'Runs on the Board' & 'We will not know the true state of the Match until Pakistan bats'

Everyone knows that the exceptional South African bowling will hit back hard, but can the Pakistani batting withstand this fury and post a 1st innings total to have the victory in their grasp?

Only 15 hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds until we get to judge that...............