ISLAMABAD: Pakistan downed South Africa by 95 runs in the second Test and whitewashed the two-match Test series by 2-0 at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi on Monday. Pakistani pacer Hasan Ali who made a comeback in the national side with a bang as he destroyed the Proteas batting line-up bagging five-wickets in the second innings. South Africa were 127 for 1 at the end of day four. Hassan who last played for Pakistan in June 2019, took Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, South African Skipper Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and George Linde. Hasan, who was the top ranked bowler in the ICC ODI Player Rankings in 2017 and also the player of the tournament in the Champions Trophy of the same year, provided a major breakthrough to Pakistan as he dismissed Rassie van der Dussen just two runs away from his 50 (48 runs) on the third ball (42nd over) of the fifth day of the second test. That’s what Pakistan wanted this morning. The ball sneaked past the inside-edge, took a feather touch, and crashed into the leg stump. Dussen (48 runs) and Aiden Markram provided a 94-run partnership to the 2nd wicket. Hasan trapped Faf du Plessis (5) lbw in the 46th over. Faf was totally done in by the low bounce, which hit the front pad in front of middle stump.
He took a review but went wasted. The danger man for Pakistan Markram who scored a blistering knock (108) for South Africa went unsuccessful in taking Proteas all the way as he was taken at second slip by Imran Butt in the 82nd over. Hasan bowled a good length ball and Markram tried to slap a cut but was unlucky. He and Temba Bavuma provided a 106 runs partnership to the 4th wicket. Hasan struck again and bold the South African Skipper Quinton de Kock on the next ball of the same over on a duck followed by George Linde 4 in the 88th over. Shaheen Shah Afridi also bagged four wickets for Pakistan in the second innings. He took the big wicket of Temba Bavuma in the 87th over, who was settling down and was on 61 runs. He kept bowling that tight line outside off with the new ball, and finally took his outside edge. Bavuma played and got just a faint edge for the keeper. He also grabbed the wickets of Dean Elgar (17), Keshav Maharaj (0) and Kagiso Rabada (0). The last wicket for Pakistan was taken by Yasir Shah in the 92nd over Wiaan Mulder (20) and South African team was all out on 274 runs, 95 runs short of the target. Hasan was declared Man of the Match while Mohammad Rizwan was Player of the Series. Hasan said it was a dream come true to make a strong comeback in the series. “I performed and the team won. I worked and improved my fitness, line and length,” he said. Rizwan said he got the plan from the coach and captain to go out there and play and I delivered. “I just play as I don’t thick whether the ball is swinging or spinning and this is the reason I don’t get under pressure,” he said.
Skipper Babar Azam took the winning trophy and said we played, enjoyed and won. “You win when you utilize the plan given to you,” he said. He lauded Hasan for his outstanding show in the game. “The combination of senior and junior was good and in future the team will become better,” he said and added that winning against a tough side gives you confidence.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan won the first Test by seven wickets and would now play three-match Twenty-20s against South Africa in Lahore on 11, 13 and 14.
Speaking at the virtual press conference after the match, Pakistan Skipper Babar Azam thanked the South African team for coming to Pakistan and playing competitive cricket. “The team has gained confidence after winning the series. Noman Ali and Yasir Shah’s innings and Mohammad Rizwan’s century did vital runs for the team which helped in giving a good target to the Proteas. Hassan Ali’s impressive performance on the comeback played a key role in the team’s victory,” he said.
He said Test cricket can never be taken lightly but we never had a negative thought in our mind that we would lose the game.
“We knew we will win the game if we got two or three wickets after the lunch break. But this was a difficult win as compared to Karachi Test. It was very important for Pakistan to win the Test series,” he said.
To a question, he said the team was new and he also got the Test captaincy so it takes time to form a team. “It is a welcome thing to be in the top five in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings,” he said.
He said players should be given confidence if there were not giving performances instead of dropping them and we were doing that. “Whenever I had to make a decision, I ask Azhar Ali and Muhammad Rizwan. Every player gives me advice but the decision is mine,” he said and added that head coach Misbah ul Haq also advised him when I went out the field.
The prolific batsman said the lower order game a good response in the game. “I gained a lot of confidence after winning the two match series,” he said.
He said a lot of work was done on the batting of the tailenders which helped us to score maximum team total. “Younis Khan and Misbah used to have separate sessions with tailenders, which has started yielding results,” he said.
On his performance, Pacer Hasan Ali said he never gave up. “My goal was to comeback and perform for my country and team,” he said.
Hasan, who backed 10 wickets in the second Test, said he won’t be able to describe the kind of difficult time he spent when he was out of the team. “My wife, my brother, senior player Shoaib Malik and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gave me a lot of confidence in difficult times,” he said.
He said in the lunch break Waqar Younis told us not to give up and pitch the ball in the right area. “The fast bowler’s ball was going up and down on the wicket, but we knew that wickets will come from a good line and length,” he said.
He said his wife also came to witness the match and he was soon going to be blessed with a child. “The credit for my victory also goes to my child and my celebration style will remain the same,” he said.
Eden Makram said the message we were given by the management was not to play with fear express yourselves and win the Test. “It is not easy to play in Asian conditions but there is a lot to learn by playing here,” he said.
He said the defeat in the Test series in Pakistan gave us an opportunity to point out our mistakes and learn. “The experience of playing Test series in Pakistan was very good,” he said.