Faf du Plessis and Sarfraz Ahmed etched their name in cricket's record books at SuperSport Park in Centurion but for unwanted reasons.
As Hasan Ali plucked a simple catch at fine leg to dismiss Faf du Plessis just 12 runs from the 149 run target that South Africa were chasing in the first Test against Pakistan, it became a record that neither he or his counterpart Sarfraz Ahmed would have preferred to be part of. With Faf falling for a duck to Shaheen Afridi, he had picked a pair at Centurion – like Pakistan’s Sarfraz at the other side of the spectrum. It is the first time in Test cricket history that captains of both teams fell for a pair in the same match.
Sarfraz, on the other side, was dismissed on the second ball of his second innings by Kagiso Rabada. In the first innings, Duanne Olivier, accounted for the Pakistan skipper’s wicket on the fourth ball. Faf was dismissed in the first innings too by Afridi in what was a golden duck. In all, the two skippers played 13 balls without scoring a run.
Faf’s pair didn’t affect South Africa as they went on to win the opening Test by six wickets on the third day itself. With Hashim Amla returning to form with an unbeaten 63 in the second innings, the hosts chased down the target despite tricky batting conditions. The second wicket pairing of Amla and Dean Elgar (50) put the game beyond Pakistan who were already bowling with their backs against the wall.
In a shaky finish prompted by Faf’s quick dismissal and Theunis de Bruyn’s (10) stumping off Yasir Shah – the only wicket going to a spinner – with 12 runs to win, Temba Bavuma got South Africa past the finish line.
Earlier, Pakistan were all out for 181 in their first innings, and South Africa replied with 223 all out. With South Africa taking a 42 run lead, Pakistan were bowled out for 190 in their second innings to leave the modest target. The game turned on its head in the final session of Day 2 when Pakistan returned from tea at 100/1 but went on to lose nine wickets for 89 runs.
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