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Pakistan vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2: How it unfolded
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Pakistan vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2: How it unfolded

Welcome to the live blog coverage of day two of the first Test between Pakistan and South Africa in Karachi. Please refresh the page to get latest updates about the cricket action in the middle. Follow live ball-by-ball score here.

Pakistan grab the game by the scruff of its neck

Most analyses and predictions at the end of day one would have affirmed the inevitability of a paltry total for Pakistan. But none of them would have taken into account the Fawad Alam factor. The stoic batsman battled the variable bounce and disciplined bowling with methodical rigour. The reserved approach was combined with an array of blistering shots, one of which helped him memorably cross the century mark.

Fawad's sparkling knock was ably supported by contrasting fifties from Azhar Ali and Faheem Ashraf, and an entertaining contribution from Mohammad Rizwan. Azhar weathered the storm of Kagiso Rabada's lethal spell in the start of the day whereas Faheem launched a series of riveting drives and impressive shots in the square region both sides of the wicket.

South Africa would be disappointed by moments of sloppy shows in the field, which could have made a colossal difference to their standing in the game. Quaid-e-Azam Trophy player of the tournament Hasan Ali and Nauman Ali, who has 10 first-class fifties, would be hoping to cushion a big lead for Pakistan tomorrow.

Plenty of drama in Maharaj's over!

In fading light, we have another twist in the tale on an engrossing day of Test cricket. The fearless Hasan Ali has decided he will not shy away from booming strokes as he lashes out a sweep shot, which edges the ball back onto the stumps. Keshav Maharaj celebrates but his foot is marginally over the popping crease. De Kock is not too pleased with the development and has a go at Hasan, who returns the verbal volley.

In the same over, Hasan's good fortune gets another boost as he badly connects a slog sweep that skies towards long on. Faf du Plessis gives a bold chase but his Jonty-esque dive is not successful and the ball barely touches his fingertips.

A flurry of boundaries and Faheem falls

Faheem was striking it sweetly and upping the ante to increase Pakistan's lead but he is bamboozled by the express pace of Nortje. The fuller-length delivery thuds Faheem's bat and rolls backwards onto the stumps quickly before he can disturb the trajectory of the ball. South Africa still have the opportunity to bundle out Pakistan today and prevent the opposition from getting a three-figure lead.

End of a glorious innings!

Soft dismissal to close out a knock to remember. Quinton de Kock gets the field placing perfect as Fawad Alam dishes out a flick shot straight into the hands of Temba Bavuma. Fawad is distraught by the manner in which he has to depart for a fine 109. A couple of South African fielders rush up to Fawad to congratulate him for his dazzling innings as he trudges back to the pavilion to warm applause. There doesn't exist a better script for Fawad's dream return to the Test XI.

Faheem's turn to register a substantial score

The all-rounder has continued where he left off during the New Zealand tour with his maiden half-century at home. Runs are coming quickly and he is lifting Pakistan to an invincible position. His fluent drives and hammering shots in the square region both sides of the wicket are thrashing the meek South African line-up.

Take a bow, Fawad Alam!

Fairytales are real and Fawad Alam is the living embodiment of this. He maintains his 100% conversion rate intact with a stunning six to bring up his third Test hundred. After calmly nudging the balls into the gaps, Fawad feels he has had enough and steps out to dispatch an incredible maximum off Maharaj. A wave of satisfaction and happiness pervades the stadium. This is an epic knock from Fawad - the face of unflappable endurance - and the homeboy is greeted to a standing ovation. Always there in a crisis situation, it was Fawad who got Pakistan agonisingly close to a draw at Mount Maunganui with a stellar ton and he is here again to shove South Africa out of the game.

Fawad's non-selection for 10 long years will be raised till the end of time. How could a domestic giant be ignored for a decade when far inferior candidates were preferred over him? But the justifiable anger and complaints do not concern Fawad one bit. He is enthusiastic, yes, but there is no scream of anguish to accompany the moment of his unforgettable century. He raises his helmet, does the now-famous Ertugrul pose and performs the sajda to pay thanks to the Almighty. #Fawadever as Ian Bishop calls it.

Into lead territory now!

The 50-run partnership is brought up and Pakistan have surpassed South Africa's first-innings total. The overnight score of 33/4 seems like a distant memory at this stage. Fawad Alam has taken on a supporting role after reaching the 'nervous nineties' with Faheem Ashraf crunching a few rollicking boundaries to take the attack to the South Africans. 

The visitors are not doing any favour to themselves by slip-ups in the field as De Kock becomes the latest player to drop a sharp but not impossible chance granted by Faheem. Rabada is denied the elusive 200th Test wicket and his captain is late to get down and dive to his left. Who would have thought the Proteas shoulders would droop this low and Pakistan's innings would have stretched to the third session today?!

Fawad is toying with the spinners

The Fawad Alam story keeps on getting better and better. He is nearing the landmark triple-figure score and in the process, is smacking some sublime shots to demonstrate his class. Two fours and a six in seven deliveries and Fawad is rocketing along now. Undoing all the damage caused by a decade of mistreatment, the 35-year-old is responding with a commanding display. What a talent and how fitting is his masterful knock.

Wicket falls on the brink of tea

Mohammad Rizwan plays a tame shot to end his punchy stay at the crease. He was beginning to look ominous with a slew of boundaries timed all over the park. Rizwan's vibrant 33 laced with six fours is cut short by Lungi Ngidi's extra bounce. Rizwan's attacking instincts get the better of him as he is unable to draw his bat away from the line of the ball that travels inwards. The keeper-batsman uses hard hands to jab at it aimlessly and gets a healthy edge to the slip cordon.

South Africa had started to wilt away under the weight of the excellent batting exhibition from Rizwan and Fawad. De Kock had begun to spread the field to avoid conceding boundaries but this wicket against the run of play has given the tourists an opening and a chance to obtain a lead. Pakistan are down to their lesser known batsmen, though the likes of Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali have the potential to put up a strong fight. To Pakistan's benefit, Fawad is unbeaten on 63 and will be hungry to score a century on home Test debut.

Maiden Test fifty for Fawad Alam!

Tenacious and gritty stuff from the determined fighter. Time and again, Fawad Alam has proved strength of character despite being pushed away from the limelight for reasons unknown. Years of neglect from the selectors and criticised for lacking a conventional technique, Fawad has kept his head down and doggedly answered with the bat. 

The significance of this innings cannot be understated. First Test match at home with his side in dire straits at 27/4 and Fawad displays a magnificent resilient act. The foreboding stat nugget for South Africa is that the two times Fawad has previously reached 50, he has gone on to make it count by amassing a century.

 Unreal batting dominance of Fawad Alam ©Sky Sports

Unreal batting dominance of Fawad Alam ©Sky Sports

Meanwhile, Mohammad Rizwan is growing in confidence as he has emphatically driven balls down the ground, combatting the reverse swing threat with ease.

On song Rabada is creating problems

Kagiso Rabada is hiding the ball until the point of release - clear indication that there is reverse swing on offer. Another brilliant six-over spell from ace speedster as he sparks a couple of nervy moments for both new man Rizwan and the settled Fawad. After being beaten by the late swing on the ball, Rizwan pushes hard at an out-swinger that doesn't carry to the keeper. Rabada smiles sheepishly as De Kock collects the ball on the bounce.

Rabada follows it up with delivering the ball in Fawad's leg glance arc and packing the field in the region as two flicks from the left-hander perilously close to Temba Bavuma. South Africa turn to Nortje now after Rabada's highly impressive toil.

50 and dismissed soon after!

That is the wicket they have been searching for all morning! After 35 fruitless overs today, South Africa have finally induced a false shot from Azhar Ali that ends up being caught by skipper Quinton de Kock. In the same over that Azhar reaches his 33rd Test fifty, he errs in judging the length of Maharaj's delivery and rocks back to try to cut a ball he should have been forward to. Azhar gets a meaty chunk of the bat and the deflection is well handled by De Kock, who makes the grab smartly.

It's been a terrific knock from Azhar nonetheless as he has saved Pakistan from being down in the doldrums and lifting them in their journey towards parity. His resolute partnership with Fawad lasted 37.4 overs for 94 runs. Still a mountain to climb for Pakistan as the in-form Mohammad Rizwan walks out. 

Pakistan's session without a doubt

The two experienced pros (taking into account Fawad's seniority in the domestic circuit and his familiarity with the Karachi pitch) have shepherded Pakistan out of adversity quite efficiently. Fears about a Pakistani collapse being prolonged have been averted spectacularly in this morning session. The conditions are still genuinely challenging for the batsmen even though the 22-yard strip has not behaved as erratically as the ball has gotten older.

What must be lauded is Pakistan's scoring rate, which hovered around the 2 runs per over mark initially but crawled up to 2.63 at the end of the session. South Africa's hopes of acquiring a significant lead will need a boost in the form of quick wickets post-lunch. They surely can't afford another costly miss like the catch grassed by Dean Elgar. To be fair, the ball was dying on the Proteas opener after catching the edge of Fawad off Maharaj and Elgar wasn't balanced enough to pluck it off the ground.

Patient and solid Pakistan, South Africa lose another review

Proper Test match batting from the two firm customers as South Africa are forced to ponder upon their bowling plans. The conspicuously watchful approach is gradually paving the way for some excellent piercing of the gaps. A much-needed shift of gears for Pakistan as they inch closer to the three-figure mark. Fawad's method has been based on waiting for the ball and punishing length deliveries whereas Azhar has been more keen on stepping out of the crease against spinners or employing the sweep shot.

Amid the calmness exuded by the duo, South Africa lose their second review in rather contentious circumstances. A somewhat delayed referral from Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Linde shows the ball striking the bat and pad at the same time but the third umpire deems it inconclusive evidence and stays with the on-field decision. Apart from the question of whether the ball hit the pad first or not, the incident has attracted criticism on South Africa losing their review.

Should the rules be tweaked in cases like these so that fielding sides don't have to suffer from a paucity of reviews?

First 50-run partnership of the game

Fawad Alam is quite supreme on the backfoot on this pitch as he slams two scrumptious boundaries through the point region. The introduction of Keshav Maharaj is not posing much of a challenge either to the two batsmen, as they add in excess of 50 runs and growing for the fifth wicket.

Not the scorecard one would have imagined in the first session considering Pakistan's batting frailties and a charged Proteas bowling line-up on a tricky wicket. While South Africa look towards spin performing for them with George Linde being handed the ball as well, they will keep an eye on the possibility of reverse swing. They certainly do possess the firepower in Rabada and Nortje to blast oppositions with the troublesome tail in to the right-hander.

Azhar and Fawad begin the hard grind

Azhar Ali's orthodox technique and penchant for presenting the full face of the bat alongside Fawad Alam's shuffling stance seems to be the perfect counter to South Africa's tight lines. Rabada is continuing where he left off with a couple of close shouts produced by his nagging in-swingers. However, given the duo's stubborn attitude at the crease, one could predict that the ball might not do as much once it gets softer and fails to take advantage of the variable bounce in the pitch.

Rotation of strike is the key to Azhar and Fawad's decent survival job, though the former had a nervous moment when faced an lbw shout from Anrich Nortje. South Africa proceeded to review the not-out verdict but it went against them as the impact of the ball was clearly outside off-stump. Signs of desperation in the South Africa camp?

Build up to Day 2

Good morning everyone! An action-packed day of cricket yesterday, particularly favouring the bowlers, has thrown the Test match into a frenzy. It was Pakistan who were bossing proceedings for a majority of the day before South Africa fought back valiantly with chief protagonist Kagiso Rabada getting rid of the openers cheaply. Two more wickets fell for Pakistan leaving them 33/4 trailing by an expansive margin of 187 runs. A detailed description of the action from our Live Blog on Tuesday.

It is pertinent to note here that there is plenty of life in the pitch and it is behaving quite differently to the dominant pattern during the domestic Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Spin generated right out of the footmarks and uneven bounce on this abrasive surface was the main feature of day one and this sequence of events is only expected to linger as the game progresses. One will have to be extra cautious regarding the slider as was the case with Babar Azam's dismissal since the Pakistan skipper played for spin and perished.

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