Karachi, January 26
South Africa made a confident start despite losing two early wickets in its first Test in Pakistan in more than 13 years.
Opener Dean Elgar was unbeaten on 46 with seven fours and former skipper Faf du Plessis was not out on 14 as the tourists reached 94-2 at lunch on the first day of the first Test.
Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock won the all-important toss on Tuesday, and both teams included two specialist spinners in the hope that the wicket will assist the spinners.
Aiden Makram (13) took three boundaries in one over of fast bowler Hasan Ali’s comeback test match as there was hardly any seam movement early on a pitch devoid of grass.
Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi (1-20) provided the breakthrough when Imran Butt, one of two Pakistan players on test debut, took a smart diving catch at second slip soon after Makram had smacked Hasan for three fours in his second over.
Rassie van der Dussen (17) looked confident against left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, who is also on debut, but was run out in a mix-up with Elgar.
Van der Dussen ran more than halfway down the wicket after driving straight to Pakistan skipper Babar Azam at mid-off and dropped his bat as he tried to return to the striker’s end, but fell way short of his crease.
Du Plessis and Elgar used their feet well against spinners Yasir Shah and Nauman, with Pakistan’s bowlers struggling to contain the runs.
South Africa, playing its first Test in Pakistan since 2007, included two left-arm spinners — Keshav Maharaj and George Linde.
Pace bowler Kagiso Rabada returned to red-ball cricket for South Africa for the first time in a year since playing England at Port Elizabeth.
Hasan, who has conceded 35 runs in eight overs, returned to the five-day format after a two-year absence since playing his last Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Hasan, who is playing his 10th Test match, has recovered from back injury. He took 43 wickets in nine domestic first-class matches this season while leading Central Punjab in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar, who has officiated on-field in the most international games (391), was supervising his first Test in Pakistan since making his debut in 2000.
Dar got his first opportunity at home after the International Cricket Council allowed the appointment of local match officials for international matches because of travel restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. AP