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South Africa make solid start in Karachi Test

Published: Monday, October 1, 2007, 13:00 [IST]
 
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KARACHI :
South Africa lost Graeme Smith after a solid start to the first Test against Pakistan here as the tourists coped well with the home team's spin-dominated attack.

Smith fell for 42 shortly before lunch. South Africa reached the interval at 96-1 after winning the toss on a dry and well-prepared pitch at the National Stadium.

Herschelle Gibbs was unbeaten on 42 and Hashim Amla was not out on eight.

Pakistan received a jolt before the start of the match when prolific batsman Mohammad Yousuf pulled out, citing a lack of match practice and form.

The 33-year-old last week made himself available to play for Pakistan after cancelling a contract with a rebel Indian league, but had barely picked up a bat for two months after being dropped for the Twenty20 world championship, at which Pakistan were finalists.

"Yousuf told us that he needed time to gain match fitness and opted out on his own," chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said.

Pakistan included Faisal Iqbal in Yousuf's place and gave a debut to left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman.

South Africa decided to drop veteran all-rounder Shaun Pollock despite the fact that rookie paceman Morne Morkel failed to regain fitness following a leg injury.

Morkel's place was taken by another paceman, Andre Nel.

Pakistan had to toil hard for the first South African wicket. They used the only two available seamers in Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul before introducing leg-spinner Danish Kaneria in the tenth over.

Captain Shoaib Malik also introduced debutant Rehman and brought himself on but it was off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez who provided the breakthrough, trapping Smith leg-before in his second over.

Smith hit five boundaries.

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