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Boucher, Kirsten help SA to 320

Lahore: South Africa scored 320 in their first innings of the first Test against Pakistan on Friday after Gary Kirsten (53) got a nasty blow off a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer. Mark Boucher (72) lent respectability to the total after the Proteas lost a few quick wickets.

Pakistan will begin their first innings Saturday half-an-hour early after bad light stopped play five overs before the scheduled close.

Kirsten got 10 stitches and two minor fractures, one on the nose and the other just below the left eye, as he missed the line of one of Akhtar’s lightning bouncers.

Kirsten remained conscious and walked off the field with blood gushing from a deep wound under his left eye.

A South African team spokesman said Kirsten was positive after receiving medical care.

“The next 24 hours are critical,” he said. “His left eye is badly bruised, but Kirsten is confident to play in the Test match.”

Akhtar had Neil Mckenzie leg before off the next delivery after Kirsten retired hurt. But Mark Boucher then played Pakistan spinners with command and hit 11 boundaries.

Boucher added 70 with Boeta Dippenaar (24) and then contributed a further 53 with Shaun Pollock (28) before off spinner Shoaib Malik dismissed all three of them.

Dippenaar and Boucher were both caught by Imran Farhat at leg slip while Pollock was bowled as he failed to read the spin. Malik finished with career-best figures of four for 42.

Captain Graeme Smith (33) and Herschelle Gibbs (27) gave South Africa a confident start of 52 after South Africa won the toss and decided to bat.

Smith was severe on Akhtar, but he miscued a pull off Mohammed Sami and gave debutant Asim Kamal an easy catch at mid-on.

Jacques Kallis (29) who was also let off by Moin Khan, was lucky not to be given out on 23 by English umpire Neil Mallender — standing in his first Test match. But he got out soon after lunch when he became Danish Kaneria’s second scalp.

Comeback man Mushtaq Ahmed (none for 80) had a disappointing return to Test cricket after two-and-a-half years.

(AP)

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