SA extend lead to over 300

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Published: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 10:16 [IST]
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SA extend lead to over 300

At the start of Day 4 on the second Test against South Africa, captain Misbah-ul-Haq's primary objective would have been to avoid the follow-on. But his plans were nipped in the bud when a fiery Dale Steyn dismissed him with the first ball of the day. Misbah had to begin the long walk back to the hut for his overnight score of 77 itself. With Pakistan's score at 317/7, Umar Gul walked out to the crease and almost immediately got on top of Steyn, getting him away for boundary in the last ball of the over.

He tried to steady the innings with Abdur Rehman and though he began to build a useful partnership studded with a few lusty blows, he fell to Paul Harris for 21 in the 118th over. The Pakistan tail was well and truly open now, and Pakistan needed a decent partnership to help it move past the follow-on mark. That's when Tanvir Ahmed came out to the middle. Initially, he just hung around and bided his time, preferring to give Rehman the bulk of the strike. But in the 124th over, he cut loose, smacking Kallis for three fours.

In the next over, Rehman lofted Harris for a six and ran a flurry of singles with Ahmed to finally take Pakistan past the follow-on mark of 384. With that pressing objective out of the way, the batsmen pressed on to see if they could get a few more runs. They got more than just a few for in the 126th over, the duo got Kallis away for two more boundaries and three overs later, had taken their side past the 400-run mark. Rehman and Ahmed took Pakistan to lunch on the fourth day with the score at 412/8 in 136 overs. Pakistan was still trailing by 172 runs.

Ahmed didn't last much longer after lunch, getting out to Morne Morkel for 30 when he hit a shot uppishly to extra cover, where Ashwell Prince took an easy catch. Running out of partners, Rehman had to single handedly step on the gas. In the 141st over, he got Morkel away for three consecutive fours to move past his fifty. In Morke's subsequent over, Rehman smashed him for another boundary. But Rehman had played one shot too many when he was lbw to Johan Botha in the 145th over. South Africa had bowled out Pakistan for 434, thus securing a sizable 150-run lead from the first innings.

The second innings began briskly for South Africa with both openers going after the seamers early on. Petersen dispatched Umar Gul for two fours in the first over, while Hashim Amla subjected Tanvir Ahmed to similar treatment in the next over. The Proteas were clearly aiming to pile on as many additional runs as possible to extend their first innings lead and give itself adequate time to try and bowl out Pakistan.

The runs began to flow with incessant rapidity and the fours were coming almost one every other over. By the end of teh 15th over, the Proteas had cruised to 81/0 and the openers were still going strong. Introduced early in South Africa's innings, Abdur Rehman couldn't use his spin to temper the flow of runs. But he went on to pick up the wicket of Alviro Petersen for 35 in the 16th over when he slashed hard straight to the man at point.

But not fazed by that wicket, Amla went on to make his fifty in the 17th over by running a single of Sami. In fact, in that over, he and the new batsman A B de Villiers picked Sami for 12 runs altogether. In the next over, the duo took South Africa to over 100 with the lead now 250-plus. After setting a strong foundation, Amla departed for a quick-fire 62 when Abdur Rehman got him bowled in the 22nd over. Rehman struck again in the 28th over when he trapped A B de Villiers in front for 25. At long last, things were flowing Pakistan's way, but South Africa still had the upperhand.

The news batsmen Ashwell Prince and Jacques Kallis, settled in well with the former taking a four each off the 29th and 30th overs. But Mohammad Hafeez got a breakthrough in the 35th over when he got Jacques Kallis caught at square leg for 10. South Africa were 148/4, just two shy of the 300-run lead. Then wicketkeepr Mark Bouncher who was the new batsman joined forces with Ashwell Prince to take South Africa to 173/4 in 49 overs at stumps on Day 4 with the lead at 323. One will have to wait and see if South Africa puts Pakistan to bat first thing on the 5th morning or if it will continue batting.


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