Cricket: Waqar holds up South Africa

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The Independent Online
Pakistan 345-9

v South Africa

The last two Pakistan wickets, which have so far added 114 runs, have transformed this first Test match. In mid-afternoon, rain having delayed the start for three hours, Pakistan were 231 for 8 before Azhar Mahmood, in his first Test, and Waqar Younis put on 74 for the ninth wicket against a side which was two bowlers short.

Azhar is a capable batsman with pretensions of being a genuine all-rounder while Waqar knows more about batting than many No 10s. Playing proper strokes for the most part, they showed that there was nothing wrong with the slow pitch.

In the hour before tea, when the South African bowlers were on top after taking the early wickets of Moin Khan and Saqlain Mushtaq, they were content to do little more than survive apart from the odd flourish by Waqar.

By the time the interval came the South Africans were beginning to show frustration. Afterwards the game changed as they became more and more desperate for a wicket and Azhar and Waqar went about their business with something of a swagger.

South Africa were without Brett Schultz, who had hurt his shoulder while throwing on the first day and was off the field. Then, Brian McMillan, who had bowled only 10 overs on Monday, bowled one more before tea and then went off. He returned later to field but he did not bowl again having also hurt himself when throwing.

Hansie Cronje's hope was that Allan Donald's pace would do the trick, but it was blunted by the slowness of the pitch and Azhar and Waqar began to play pretty well. Shaun Pollock kept going with Donald and it was a long time before Cronje, who is suspicious of spin, turned to his off- spinner, Pat Symcox.

By then both batsmen were well set and hard though Symcox tried to unsettle them with changes of flight and pace, runs came freely off him.

(Second day of five; Pakistan won toss)

PAKISTAN - First innings

(Overnight: 216 for 6)

Moin Khan lbw b Donald 12

Azhar Mahmood not out 72

Saqlain Mushtaq lbw b Pollock 0

Waqar Younis lbw b Pollock 45

Mushtaq Ahmed not out 6

Extras (b2 lb7 nb11 20

Total (for 9) 345

Fall of wickets (cont): 7-230 8-231 9-305

Bowling (to date): Donald 29.1-3-95-3; Schultz 15-4-58-1; Pollock 31- 11-62-3; McMillan 11-4-12-0; Symcox 39-10-81-2; Kallis 7-3-15-0; Cronje 4-0-13-0.

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 Venkatravagahn (India) and Javed Akhtar (Pakistan).