Younis ton secures drawAlex Crampton |
Today was an important day for both the Pakistani and South African cricket teams.
For Pakistan, it marked the last appearance of their former captain and long time middle-order rock Inzamam Ul-Haq, who is now to retire from Test cricket. For South Africa, it was the day they clinched a series win in the subcontinent, their first in over seven years.
For many, a perfect ending today would have been Inzamam striking a typical Inzamam century to take Pakistan to victory. Sadly though, seeing as Pakistan were set 457 to win, this was an unlikely situation, and as it was, Inzamam was dismissed for an anticlimactic 3.
Pakistan began the day 108-1, with Kamran Akmal and Younis both on the verge of half centuries. Both began aggressively, still with the thought of an unlikely victory in the back of their minds. They both played a number of expansive strokes, before Paul Harris was brought on to slow things down.
They added 68 in the morning before Akmal’s dismissal, for a total partnership of 161. It was indeed Harris who made the breakthrough, as the wicketkeeper played on. That would prove to be one of only three wickets South Africa would take.
With Younis Khan already cruising towards a century, he was joined by Mohammad Yousuf, the best batsman in the world last year, who would prove equally difficult to dislodge. Younis would eventually be gone though, after a second last day hundred in as many matches. South Africa had induced several edges previously, several that eluded fielders, as well as Hashim Amla dropping a sitter at midwicket, but eventually Jacques Kallis found one that was snaffled by Boucher.
This brought in Inzamam, who after taking a rare three from his first ball, came charging down the pitch to Harris for his next, and was promptly stumped by Boucher. As he left the field for the last time, a number of the South Africans shook his hand, and his team mates gave him a guard of honour.
While South Africa may have hoped for a late collapse following Inzamam’s dismissal, they were not to get one. Yousuf remained as stoic and risk-free as ever, finishing on 63 after nearly four hours of batting, while Shoaib Malik stayed with Yousuf until the end of the innings.
South Africa didn’t bowl badly today, not by any means, but they just weren’t able to take any more than three wickets against a determined Pakistani batting order, intent on salvaging a draw today.
South Africa 357
Ashwell Prince 63, Jacques Kallis 59
Danish Kaneria 4-114, Umar Gul 3-103
Kamran Akmal 52, Misbah-ul-Haq 41
Makhaya Ntini 3-42, Paul Harris 3-57
South Africa 305-4 dec.
Graeme Smith 133*, Jacques Kallis 107*
Abdur Rehman 2-112
Younis Khan 130, Kamran Akmal 73, Mohammad Yousuf 63
Paul Harris 2-60
South Africa win the 2-match series 1-0
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