As per the expectation, Pakistan batting line proved to be wall of sand. The way they batted depicted their utter lack of application. They looked fragile and seemed not ready for the challenge.
Prior to Centurion test, Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi were unavailable for the Proteas. This must had been the good news for the green camp. But Duanne Olivier came saw and conquered the first test. His express pace, accurate length and persistent line was too hot to handle for Pakistani batsmen. Major threat presumed were Steyn and Rabada but Olivier certainly steal the show at Super Sports Park.
It has been long story of fragile batting line up of Pakistan. Post retirement of Misbah and Younis, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq were identified as their heirs. But the way they played especially Asad was horrendous. They simply were unable to secure the corridor of uncertainty. In the first inning Azhar was unlucky as Theunis De Bruyn took blinder of a catch to dismiss him. But in the 2nd inning he responded horribly to the short ball and got out cheaply.
While on the other hand Asad Shafiq’s lack of form continued. He only managed to score 17 runs in two innings of the first test. A lot was expected from him as he is known as specialist test batsman. He has tremendous record as Number six position, having 11 hundreds at that spot. But time has come that he graduate himself and perform in upper order, which he couldn’t so far.
Babar Azam’s counter attacking inning was probably the only highlight for the men in green as he took the bull by horns and stroked 11 boundaries off Steyn in the first inning. But he too floundered in the 2nd inning alongside rest of the middle order players. Fakhar Zaman also did not look comfortable while skipper Sarfaraz’s dismal form with the bat continued which is alarming for the team as a whole.
From 103 for 1 to 190 all out; shows how weak the batting line is. This was not the first time that Pakistani batting lineup fell like house of cards. First test against Kiwis where they could not chased 176 at Abu Dhabi is very recent example of this nervy batting side. Batsmen make mess and bowlers try to clean that mess; this cycle is continuing from quite some time.
For the remaining two tests, not much of a change is expected again from Pakistan. Philander will be available for next test match which will further increase pressure for Micky Arthur and Co. Only positive intent and washing out the past from mind, can help Pakistan to come out and perform better for the remainder of the series.