Published: Monday, October 1, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis consolidated South Africa's strong start against a spin-dominated Pakistan attack on the opening day of the first Test here on Monday.

Amla was unbeaten on a patient 49 and Kallis on 46 as the tourists reached 195-2 at tea after winning the toss on a dry and well-prepared pitch at the National Stadium.

Herschelle Gibbs (54) and Graeme Smith (42) shared a confident opening stand of 87 before Pakistan dismissed the two either side of lunch.

Kallis, dropped on 36 by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, has added 86 runs with Amla, who showed intense concentration.

Gibbs, without a hundred for 37 innings, looked set for a big score as he drove and cut with confidence to reach his half-century in two-and-a-quarter hours, hitting seven boundaries.

But he fell to a low catch in the slips by Mohammad Hafeez off Umar Gul, who returned for his second spell after lunch. Gibbs fell three short of reaching 6,000 Test runs.

Pakistan had been forced to rely on the only two available seamers in Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul but they failed to provide an early breakthrough, forcing captain Shoaib Malik to introduce leg-spinner Danish Kaneria in the tenth over.

Kaneria did turn the ball but it was batting allrounder Hafeez who claimed Pakistan's first wicket when he trapped Smith leg-before in his second over.

Smith hit five boundaries in his 105-minute stay at the crease.

The home team 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 he 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.


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