Thanks to Hasan Ali’s ten-wicket haul, Pakistan won its first Test series against South Africa since 2003 with a 95-run victory on the final day in Rawalpindi today.
Hasan finished with 5-60 to record his best match figures of 11-114 and help dismiss South Africa — who were set a daunting 370 to chase — for 274 before the tea break. Hasan’s new-ball partner Shaheen Shah Afridi finished with 4-51, while spinner Yasir Shah took the last wicket to spark celebrations among the Pakistan players.
Opener Aiden Markram scored a fighting 108 and Temba Bavuma 61. They put on a 106-run stand for the fourth wicket to give Pakistan a scare. With South Africa requiring 243 runs at the start of the final day with nine wickets in hand, Pakistan needed to strike early on the final day or risk losing the Test. Hasan Ali stepped up for his side with an inswinging delivery that rattled the stumps for batsman Rassie van der Dussen, who had been the bedrock of South Africa’s fight-back on day four alongside opener Aiden Markram. Dussen had made 48 runs off 97 deliveries and his partnership with Aiden Markram had yielded 94 runs off 200 deliveries.
Hasan Ali however was on top with his game and trapped veteran batsman Faf du Plessis for an LBW soon afterward as the batsman departed for just 5 runs off 13 deliveries.
With Pakistan on the attack, Aiden Markram needed a solid hand at the other end, and in walked batsman Temba Bavuma. The two batsmen endured some tense bowling from the Men in Green without going into a defensive shell. Markram brought up his hundred on the stroke of lunch while Temba Bavuma stood like a rock at the other end as the required runs crept closer into range.
The New Ball that Changed the Game
The introduction of the new ball however changed the entire complexion of the game. Hasan Ali, wielding the ball, forced a lapse in concentration from Aiden Markram which resulted in an edge that was safely pouched by fielder Imran Butt at second slip. This ended Markram’s mammoth 108-run knock that came off 243 deliveries with the help of 13 fours and 3 sixes. The pacer struck the very next ball after an out-of-form Quinton de Kock edged another ball safely into the hands of slip fielder Imran Butt. Pacer Shaheen Shah, who has not been at his best recently, stepped up for his side when they needed him the most and removed the last big obstacle in Pakistan’s path to victory. Temba Bavuma, who had been solid at the crease, edged one to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan and was dismissed after scoring 61 runs off 125 deliveries with the help of six fours. Once the major batsmen of the Proteas side had departed, the Pakistan bowlers pounced on the tailenders in an effort to bring a swift end to an exciting Test.
Hasan Ali completed a five-wicket haul after removing all-rounder George Linde, courtesy of a stunning catch by fielder Faheem Ashraf after the batsman had scored just 4 runs off 5 deliveries. Shaheen Shah then removed tailenders Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada for a duck each to bring Pakistan close to a historic series victory at home.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah then bowled all-rounder Wiaan Mulder, who scored 20 runs off 40 deliveries, to complete an amazing victory on the final day and seal the series two-nil. The fielding lapses will sting for South Africa, both because of their reputation in the field and because Pakistan was much more effective. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Abid Ali ran out Wiaan Mulder and Kagiso Rabada respectively, to take Pakistan’s total run-outs in the series to four.
The Stars Hassan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah
Hasan Ali was the star of Pakistan’s bowling effort with five wickets while Shaheen Shah provided ample support towards the end with four wickets.
Hasan Ali was given “man of the match” for his phenomenal spell of fast-bowling while Mohammad Rizwan was the player of the series for his consistent batting and reliable wicketkeeping skills during the two Tests against South Africa.
Congratulations team Pakistan well deserved victory!