| South Africa’s Shaun Pollock celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan’s Mushtaq Ahmed in Faisalabad Sunday. (AFP)
Faisalabad: Shaun Pollock took six wickets on Sunday before Pakistan snatched back the initiative on the third day of the second Test against South Africa.
Pollock’s six for 78 helped South Africa to bowl out Pakistan for 348 and reduced the home team’s first innings lead to 70. However, Pakistan removed three top order batsmen before stumps, including the key wicket of captain Graeme Smith, as the Proteas progressed to 140 for three — an overall lead of 70 runs.
Gary Kirsten was batting on 27 while Neil McKenzie was yet to get off the mark when umpires called off day’s play six overs before the scheduled close due to darkness.
Smith, without a half century in the last nine Test innings, made a resolute 65 but was trapped leg before by seamer Shabbir Ahmed just three overs before stumps. Smith survived two close chances when wicketkeeper Moin Khan dropped a difficult catch before the South African skipper had scored and then missed a stumping chance on 27 off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
Smith and Herschelle Gibbs scored over four an over in the opening stand of 42 before latter misread Kaneria’s flipper and was adjudged leg before wicket for 20. Boeta Dippenaar (21) put on 51 with Smith but off-spinner Shoaib Malik trapped Dippenaar leg before when South Africa were just 23 runs.
Earlier, resuming on 237 for two, the Pakistan middle-order collapsed due to a strong performance by Pollock with the second new ball. The 76-Test veteran grabbed three wickets in 21 deliveries while conceding just 10 runs. The right-arm seamer returned for his second spell and had tailender Mushtaq Ahmed leg before wicket and removed last man Kaneria as Pakistan lost eight wickets for just 111 runs and Pollock claimed his 16th five-wicket haul.
Overnight batsmen Inzamam-ul Haq (23) and century-maker Imran Farhat (128) fell in successive Pollock overs after Smith took the new ball in the second over of the day.
Inzamam started the day with a pulled four off Makhya Ntini’s first ball of the morning, but was trapped leg before by Pollock off the third delivery with the new ball.
Farhat played a loose pull shot to Robin Peterson at square leg after adding just five to his overnight score. Farhat’s maiden Test century included 18 fours. He faced 226 balls during his knock, which lasted five hours 43 minutes. He also put on 70 runs for the third wicket with captain Inzamam.
Pakistan were still trailing by 17 runs when Pollock’s short delivery struck the back of Malik’s bat, sending the ball to Smith in the slips. Wicketkeeper-batsman Khan struck three boundaries in his brief knock of 18 before he was caught by Gibbs after attempting to drive Jacques Kallis.
Allrounder Abdul Razzaq (37) and number 10 batsman Shabbir Ahmed (24 not out) added some valuable runs in the end to help Pakistan take 70-run lead as South Africa dismissed them half an hour after lunch.
The performance of the Sharks rugby union team in the Currie Cup helped to inspire Pollock to his performance on Sunday. “Yeah the Sharks inspired me to perform. I follow their performances very passionately,” he said.
The Sharks are from Durban, Pollock’s home city, and qualified for the final of the South African Currie Cup by beating Western Province 28-25.
Pollock said he also had fond memories of the Iqbal Stadium where he took five for 37 in 1997 to bowl South Africa to their only Test win in Pakistan.
“I even chose to bowl from the same wicket-taking end in this Test and the pitch looks to be similar to what we played on here last time. I feel confident about bowling on this ground. You know you have done it before. ”