Pakistan wins by 7 wickets in 1st test against South Africa

KARACHI, PAKISTAN (AP) — Spinners Nauman Ali and Yasir Shah rattled South Africa to help Pakistan win the first test by seven wickets inside four days yesterday.

Nauman, a 34-year-old left-arm spinner making his test debut, returned 5-35 and Shah took 4-79 to dismiss South Africa for 245 in the second innings before lunch on day four.

It set up a small target of 88 and despite Anrich Nortje’s (2-24) twin strike in one over, Pakistan reached 90-3 before tea in 22.5 overs.

Azhar Ali remained unbeaten on 31 while Fawad Alam raised the victory with a boundary off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

“To be honest, scoring 220 in the first innings wasn’t enough and that’s where we let ourselves down the most,” South Africa skipper Quinton de Kock said.

“The way we lost the match, it wasn’t our best. We just go back, prepare and come back mentally stronger (for the second test).”

It was only Pakistan’s fifth victory in 27 test matches against South Africa, which had won at the same venue when it last toured in 2007.

Nauman and Shah shared 14 wickets in the match as South African batsmen struggled against spinners in both innings.

The win also earned Babar Azam success in his first test as Pakistan skipper. Babar was due to lead the side in the last series in New Zealand but missed it because of a fractured thumb.

“Credit goes to all the players,” Babar said. “Spinners were getting lot of assistance from the pitch which helped us a lot to win within four days.

“We made a strong comeback through senior players Fawad Alam and Azhar Ali in the first innings which built our confidence.”

Nortje clean bowled Abid Ali (10) and then had Imran Butt (12), playing his first test, caught behind before Maharaj had Babar (30) trapped leg before wicket when only two needed for victory.

Pakistan had been in control since taking a 158-run first-innings lead, when its lower order rallied from 27-4 to reach 378, helped by Alam’s gritty century.

South Africa resumed yesterday on 187-4 and things immediately got worse for the tourists when fast bowler Hasan Ali bowled night-watchman Maharaj with the first delivery of day four.

Captain Quinton de Kock, who fell to a reckless shot in South Africa’s first innings of 220, failed for the second time against the spinners. The tourists were just 34 runs ahead when de Kock offered a regulation catch in Shah’s second over to give Abid Ali his third catch in the innings.

Nauman then got into the act by having George Linde (11) caught at leg slip as South Africa’s lower order struggled to read the left-arm spinner on a turning track.

Nauman wrapped up the innings by claiming the last three wickets off his successive overs.

Temba Bavuma resisted for nearly two hours to score 40 off 93 balls before he was the last man dismissed when he attempted a sweep against Nauman and was adjudged lbw.

South Africa struggled against the spinners on the fourth day pitch, adding just 58 runs for the loss of six wickets as Nauman (34 years, 111 days old) became the oldest test bowler in 72 years to take a five-wicket haul in an innings on test debut.

New Zealand’s medium fast bowler Fen Cresswell was 34 years, 144 days old when he grabbed a five-wicket haul in his first test against England at The Oval in 1949.

The second test begins at Rawalpindi from February 8. Both teams will then play in a three-match Twenty20 series at Lahore from February 11-14.