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PAK vs SA: Why pitch supported spin in 1st Test in Karachi?


PAK vs SA: Spinners dominated the first Test match

Pakistan had won the first Test match against South Africa by seven wickets. Star performers in the first match were domestic performers Fawad Alam and debutant Nauman Ali.

Faheem Ashraf and Yasir Shah, along with Azhar Ali also chipped some important contribution in Pakistan’s first Test match win over South Africa in eight years.

Experts and fans did catch something in the first day of the first Test match which was held in National Stadium Karachi. Six wickets out of fourteen were taken by spin bowlers. Namely left-arm off-break bowlers Nauman Ali, who took two, Keshav Maharaj, who took one and leg spinner Yasir Shah, who took three.

The National Stadium Karachi pitch usually is a batting-friendly pitch with seam bowlers getting assist on early days. The spinners do get assist, but not as early as fast bowlers do. They get assist on usual days four and five in Karachi. Otherwise, it is mostly a lovely batting strip.


PAK vs SA: Nauman Ali had an excellent Test match.

Overall, out of 33 wickets that were picked in the first Test match, 18 wickets were picked by spinners. That is 54.5% combined by both Pakistan and South African spinners.

So what made spinners successful in Karachi this PAK vs SA? Let’s take a look closely.

PAK vs SA: A look at spinners performance on day 1

First off, we will talk about the first day where the spinners don’t usually get help but still managed to pick six wickets in the first PAK vs SA test match.

Let’s talk about left-arm off-spinners Nauman Ali and Keshav Maharaj. These two did not get much spin earlier but managed to get three between them. What they both succeed in that they both cleverly bowled arm balls, which caught big wickets for them this PAK vs SA match.

For Nauman Ali, he bowled well in his debut Test match. His maiden Test wicket was off South African captain Quinton de Kock. You could say that the left-hander gifted his wicket by playing or rather smashing straight to mid-wicket fielder.

The second wicket was more beauty. It was a set-up really. He was getting some spin coming into Dean Elgar, who scored the first fifty of the series. However, looking at 3:40 minutes in the video, Nauman cleverly bowled an arm ball outside off. Looking closely, the ball was also drifted away a little which assisted the spinner. As a result, Elgar saw a scoring opportunity to drive, not aware that he would be caught at slip via thick outside edge.

Now coming to Keshav Maharaj, he got the major wicket of Babar Azam. He was bowling outside the line of the off-stump from around the wicket. However, he then bowl a little closer to the middle line with the arm, which went straight on and dead-on Babar.

As for Yasir Shah, he was excellent in his own ways in this PAK vs SA Test match. Ever since the England’s tour in 2020, he has bowled well and is Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker so far. In fact, since the start of 2020, Yasir Shah leads the chart for Pakistan with 25 wickets at an average of 31.

On reviewing the first-day bowling, Yasir picked three. He bowled a classic leg-spinner and it was a perfect delivery. Bowled with a delivery drifting in before spinning away from Faf du Plessis. Then against Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj, he bowled a straighter one. Flighted deliveries with a change of pace, something he had worked before the tour of England.

Then afterwards on day four, in particular, the pitch started to get drier and became more suitable for spin. Both of Yasir and Nauman then get through the South African batsmen. Let’s not forget fielding. Some sharp fielding also helped the Pakistani spinners get their reward.

It was the spinners who helped Pakistan win their first Test win in a whole year. Spinners were crucial on the first day of the Test match.

The second Test of PAK vs SA series will begin on February 4 at Rawalpindi, where it is a more suitable for fast bowling than spinners.

Read more: England tour of India: IND vs ENG complete schedule


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