Cape Town – Following Day 1 of the second Test between the Proteas and Pakistan, it’s safe to say that Faf du Plessis and his men are in a commanding position.
The tourists were skittled out for a mere 177 as the Proteas looked to take full advantage and possibly close in on another comprehensive win.
Despite the loss of opener Dean Elgar (20), Aiden Markram stood tall as he and Hashim Amla (24*) provided much-needed stability to the Proteas top order.
However, Markram’s innings of 78 off 96 balls (14 fours and a six) ended in dramatic fashion after he was bowled by the final ball of the day sent down by Shan Masood.
Part-timer seamer Masood produced a delivery that stayed low and seamed which deceived the 24-year-old and scattered his stumps.
Masood was at a loss for words over what had occurred out in the middle.
“I have no idea what went on over there,” admitted Masood after proceedings on Day 1.
“I don’t consider myself a bowler at all, but the idea was just to hit a nice area and it was better having a seamer than a Yasir (Shah) as I don’t think there’s any purchase for the spinner. Hopefully it (Markarm’s wicket) opens a door for us and allows us to get a few early wickets tomorrow with the new batsman coming in.”
Masood – who scored 44 in the first innings – admitted that the ball was misbehaving in the first session, which saw Pakistan stumble to 75/5 at lunch.
“It was more about the ball misbehaving in the first session, the bounce was quite variable and in terms of a bouncer it was more of a ball popping up to a length. It’s these kind of balls that got our batsmen out,” said the 29-year-old.
“If you saw the second session, the ball died down a bit as it lost it’s lacquer and it didn’t do much. But we were left with five batsmen already back in the pavilion so we didn’t give ourselves a good chance.”
Pakistan were eventually all out for 177 as the Proteas replied with 123/2 at stumps.
“If we get a chance again (to bat), the thing will be to take the shine of the new ball and as the ball gets older it gets easier to bat on and you get a lot of value for runs if you see the outfield and whenever you get the ball in your area on this kind of pitch, it always offers you some good value for runs,” said Masood.
Play on Day 2 gets under way at 10:30.