Friday, February 1, 2013

Predictions: Day 2, South Africa versus Pakistan Test Series

Day 1 of this series was a bit like a Boxing Match that ebbed and flowed until Pakistan landed a blow that was represented in their 5/21 to dismiss South Africa for an underwhelming 253. The aftermath saw the Champion South Africans bear the brunt of a standing 8 count but be able to find the solace of the bell and the comfort of his corner to regroup

There was a lovely context attached to the South African score of 253, a total that looked hopelessly inadequate on a pitch that had a bit of spice in it but will quicken and flatten out to represent a batting paradise. Herein lies the captivating nature of Day 2 in regards to all laud in the completeness of South Africa in all departments of the game meaning their batting had their pants pulled down by a very accomplished and varied Pakistan attack yesterday but you know that their high calibre bowling will hit back hard.

The big question is whether Pakistan can match the excellence in their bowling with a similarly complete showing in their batting. A batting line up that is seen as the weakness in the Team and has few in it that has credentials in these types of conditions and against this type of high class attack.

If they can and get a lead of 150+ it will set up almost certain victory with the fact that their pacemen will still be supported on a pitch that will break up and bring the lethal Pakistani spinners more into the game. Watching South Africa bat against Mohammad Hafees and his primary diet to the batsmen of straight ones and little else made you think that most of the hosts batting is clueless in the extreme against spin.

Now for the first Captain Obvious with the new ball being crucial. South Africa needs to strike for if they do not the pitch will flatten beautifully and set up the potential for an arduous 2 days in the field where they get grinded into the turf. The trio of Steyn, Philander and Morkel are that good that they could render the batting irrelevant with them ripping through it with their high calibre skill in delivering the jaw dropping unplayable deliveries to batsmen.

Obviously the Pakistani batsmen will respect this and match it with the type of batting that has symbolised their rise in the game. With its embrace of a traditional reserved style that embraces defensive mindsets that makes the bowlers have to earn everything they receive with nothing being given. The key for the tourists in not immersing too deep in that defensive mindset that will see them be tied down and wickets resulting because of this. They must maintain their risk free batting but marry it with more pro activity in their running between the wickets and punishing all the bad balls. In a word, the scoreboard must tick over and never stagnate

The Professor Mohammad Hafees is the key in this with him needing to incite the mindset from the top of the order and how positive his play was in the over he faced last night reeked of promise. If he in partnership with Nasir Jamshed can give the Team a good start it will shield the middle order and allow them to bat in more friendly conditions with less threat off the pitch

The first hour will be an enthralling tug of war that will decide the Fate of this game.

I just have a feeling we are about to witness a classic where Pakistan's batting will be tested in the extreme but put their Team on top as Stumps is drawn on Day 2

Predicted Stumps Score- Day 2

Pakistan 280/5

Hafees and Jamshed will set the scene with an excellent opening partnership with Jamshed showing that he has the potential and temperament to be a very fine player. Both Steyn and Philander will give the batsmen cold sweats with their skill and fire with luck deserting both of them. The situation for the hosts is saved by Morkel, who with his bounce makes the Pakistani look like Cats on a hot tin roof.

As Stumps are drawn the match is evenly balanced

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