Cricket: Ali Naqvi hits century on Test debut

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The Independent Online
Pakistan 216-6

v South Africa

Although the 20-year-old opening batsmen, Ali Naqvi, made a fine century in his first Test innings, Pakistan wasted a great opportunity after winning the toss. Careless strokes cost them the wickets of their three most experienced batsmen.

The final mow had, unsurprisingly, left the pitch extremely bare of grass. As Pakistan will have hoped, it is already taking spin; and the bounce, not entirely even at this early stage, will only grow worse.

Pakistan will have been expecting the spin of Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq to give them a big advantage. But first their batsmen needed to give them enough runs to bowl at which they have not done. Having picked only one spinner, Pat Symcox, the South Africans had another think when they saw the pitch before the start.

In the end, they decided to stick with their seam attack. By the end of this first day they will have been happy enough with that decision. After a wayward first hour when Brett Schultz was mostly to blame, they did an admirable job.

Ali was the only batsman to hold them up. In 353 minutes at the crease he showed an outstanding temperament and an excellent technique. He plays very straight with a preference for the front foot and has a good range of strokes.

Saeed Anwar helped Ali in an exciting opening stand of 45 in nine overs before being caught behind off a cut, playing a ball which was too close to him. For a time, Mohammad Ramzan, another debutant, batted with composure, playing some pleasant strokes through the covers before Shaun Pollock had him lbw on the back foot with a ball which cut back into him, one of the few to move all day.

First day of five; Pakistan won toss

PAKISTAN - First Innings

*Saeed Anwar c Richardon b Donald 16

Ali Naqvi c Kirsten b Donald 115

Mohammad Ramzan lbw Pollock 29

Ijaz Ahmed b Symcox 11

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Richardson b Schultz 8

Mohammad Wasim c Kirsten b Symcox 11

Moin Khan not out 8

Azhar Mahmood not out 4

Extras (b2 lb4 nb8) 14

Total (for 6) 216

Fall: 1-45 2-114 3-135 4-152 5-196 6-206.

To bat: Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis.

Bowling (to date): Donald 18.2-2-61-2 (nb1; Schultz 15-4-58-1 (nb6); Pollock 18-6-38-1; McMillan 10-4-10-0 (nb1); Symcox 23-5-43-2; Kallis 2-2-0-0.

SOUTH AFRICA: *W J Cronje, G Kirsten, A M Bacher, J H Kallis, D J Cullinan, B M McMillan, S M Pollock, D J Richardson, P L Symcox, A A Donald, B N Schultz.

Umpires: S Venkatravaghan (India) and Javed Akhtar (Pakistan).

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