Pakistan cleanly swept South Africa ; Hasan's Heroics
It was the first time since 2003, Pakistan defeated south Africa at home 2-0 on 8th February 2021. This is Pakistan’s only second test series win over South Africa in 12 attempts, having lost eight and drawn three. Pakistan won the first test in Karachi by seven wickets and the second test by 95 runs in Rawalpindi. The series against South Africa who were touring Pakistan for the first time in 14 years is the biggest hosted by the home side since a Sri Lanka toured in 2009.
The series win for Pakistan also lifts them in International Test rankings to fifth, the first time they have placed in the top five since January 2017. South Africa have now pushed from fifth to sixth.
Talking about the test matches, in the first test South Africa showed a tremendous fight throughout the game , they even had their moments but it was Pakistan who won their crucial moments and hence they were the one who were at the top after the first test. Firstly Pakistan managed to keep South Africa to 220 after being asked to field despite South Africa being 100 for 2 at one stage. Also Pakistan was in a bit of trouble in their first innings with 33 for 4 at one stage but top class contributions from the middle and lower order saw them gain a lead of over 150. Fawad Alam was the star with the bat for them as he smashed yet another ton after his comeback into the side.
In the second innings , it was a great fight shown by the South Africa but, not a brave one which gave them only a lead of 89 runs which was never looked tough for Pakistan who chased it comfortably even though losing two quick wickets at the start.
In the second test , Medium pacer Hasan Ali took a maiden ten-wicket haul to help Pakistan with the test series. He finished 5-60 in the second innings to record his best match figures of 11-114 and help dismiss South Africa who were set a daunting target of 370. Hasan ripped the tourists batting order , which lost seven wickets for just 33 runs in their second innings with the second new ball.
With South Africa at one stage looked really comfortable in the second innings when Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma were batting and building a partnership. They put on a 106 run-stand together which gave a Pakistan a scare. Aiden Markram also completed his fifth test century which was more importantly first outside South Africa included 13 boundaries and 3 sixes but didn’t resist for long as Hasan Ali ripped him off soon after his century. South African skipper Quinton de kock had a miserable series with scoring only 46 runs and also losing a series as a captain. Also their most experienced player in the squad Faf du Plessis scored only 55 runs in the series which costed them the series. The two teams will now play T20 series of three matches all in Lahore i.e Pakistan.
Just to include Hasan Ali had made a comeback after 2 years and his performance was outstanding. South Africa have an inexperience lineup but did showed a lot of character in the entire series. Also Mohammad Rizwan played excellently throughtout the series and for his efforts he was awarded as the Man of the series. There were lot of positives from the series for both the teams to look out for.
Both the teams are out of the contention for the spot of World test championship finals , whereas Pakistan and South Africa stand fifth and sixth in the points table of the WTC.
Hasan will turn 27 on July 2 this year. That’s not his only parallel with Zahid and indeed with Junaid Khan , Mohammad Abbas and the rest of the host of Pakistan fast bowlers whose careers have been derailed by injury. Back and rib problems kept hasan off the field from June to September 2019. But by then because of his falling form and not helped by other injuries, he lost his contract with PCB. He played his first test against South Africa after 19 months. And in a press conference Hasan said that “His aim was not only playing but was to contribute effectively to the team”.
As in the end Hasan swung the pendulum in Pakistan’s way during the last year which resulted them in a series win over South Africa after 18 years.