Twitter Reactions: Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali keep Pakistan ahead after Nortje's fifer on Day 2

Twitter Reactions: Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali keep Pakistan ahead after Nortje’s fifer on Day 2

Quinton de Kock got himself into the groove quickly, slapping a couple of fours against Nauman before attacking Yasir Shah as South Africa go to 106/4 at stumps.

Faheem Ashraf
Faheem Ashraf. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Resuming the day after a wicket-less second session of the opening day at Rawalpindi, the third five-for of Anrich Nortje’s Test career defied all chances of Pakistan to entirely run away with the game. Although, that did not stop them to add 127 more to the first day’s tally when they went to stumps at 145/3, well-situated for a giant first-innings lead.

Unlike the docile first day’s track, there was some zip for the quicks early morning, and Nortje exploited that to the best of his team’s advantage. Making up for the lost time due to rain, which wiped an entire session yesterday, South Africa was able to land the early blows in an extended session, as Nortje removed Babar Azam, who edged a length delivery to Faf du Plessis at second slip to depart without adding a penny to his overnight tally of 77.

Faheem Ashraf tests the visitors’ patience

Fawad Alam, ever so patient and calm in his batting demeanor, had been able to add only three to his score when he decided to steal a single off Temba Bavuma, only to be dismissed run-out to an incredible piece of fielding. That was when Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Rizwan tucked themselves in to stabilize the innings after a shaky half an hour of play.  Quinton de Kock displayed an aggressive intent as he immediately introduced his pacers to attack the two new men, however, nothing of that bogged Ashraf down, who played and stood at the crease with confidence.

Defending solidly from the other end was Rizwan, who seemed content in playing out time and rotating the strike whenever there was a chance. Playing on the merit of the balls and paying sufficient respect when needed, the duo added 41 amongst each other before Rizwan top-edged a Nortje short ball to Rabada at fine leg. Pakistan lost another one at the stroke of Lunch when Maharaj drew Hasan Ali forward to induce an edge for Elgar at slip.

Nortje’s fifer folds Pakistan for 272

Coming back after the break, Ashraf, who brought up his half-century off a booming drive against Rabada in the previous session, continued to swell Pakistan’s lead as he marshaled well alongside the tail to frustrate the visitors’ bowlers even more.

Pakistan crossed the 250-mark with a useful partnership between Ashraf and Yasir Shah, which was ended by Wiaan Mulder took a simple return catch after Yasir lobbed a drive to him. Ashraf and Nauman Ali stood together for 70 deliveries, adding 21 runs before Nortje struck twice in the 115th over to remove both Numan and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Hasan Ali puts Pakistan ahead

After folding Pakistan for 272, the South African openers made a positive start as Aiden Markram picked a couple of boundaries off Afridi, whereas Elgar targeted Hasan Ali, hitting him for two fours. However, it was Ali who had the last laugh as he got Elgar to feather-edge one behind the wickets, coming around the wicket, to get the first breakthrough. He made it two in two when he castled Rassie van der Dussen on his first ball, cleaning him up with one that stayed slightly lower than the batsman anticipated.

Returning on a hat-trick after the Tea break, Hasan was denied by Faf du Plessis, who instead picked a couple of fours to start the proceedings. Growing in confidence, both du Plessis and Aiden Markram negotiated the bowlers for a brief passage of play, adding amongst themselves 29 runs for the third wicket.

Soon after South Africa crossed 50, however, Faheem Ashraf removed du Plessis, who edged one behind the wickets. Pakistan struck again when Markram top-edged Nauman Ali straight to the man at midwicket, although they must be disappointed for having given Temba Bavuma a life by not reviewing an lbw call soon after Rizwan dropped him. New man Quinton de Kock got himself into the groove quickly, slapping a couple of fours against Nauman before attacking Yasir Shah as South Africa go to 106/4 at stumps.

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