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23 May 2024

Pakistan vs South Africa: New ball, old problems for Misbah & Co

South Africa's Dale Steyn celebrates after taking his 6th wicket during the 1st Test against Pakistan in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. (AP)

By Reuters

Pakistan have 10 days to come up with an answer over how to counter South Africa's new-ball bowling attack ahead of the second Test at Newlands.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq said their inability to find a way to deal with the new ball was the major factor in their 211-run defeat in the first Test that was completed at the Wanderers on Monday.
It will be of little comfort to the tourists that the next Test will be played in Cape Town where South Africa bowled Australia out for 47 in November 2011 and New Zealand for 45 just last month.

"We will try and get more practice in around the new ball. If you can get through the new ball then I think we can score runs in South African conditions," Misbah told reporters.

The tourists will play a two-day practice game against a Western Province Invitational XI in Cape Town on February 10-11, a chance at least to test this new resolve even if against vastly inferior opposition.

Their second innings total of 268 on Monday gives Pakistan some reason to be cheerful off the back of their record Test low of 49 in their first effort with the bat.

"It gives a little bit of hope, the fact that we scored some runs. All these players will have learnt from the last three and a half days. It is about applying yourself and getting good starts," Misbah said.

Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore has urged his players to be positive in the face of the South African attack.

Asked whether the team would carry forward any psychological scars from the first innings capitulation on day two, Whatmore says the players have accepted the circumstances and have moved on.

"I would like to think it does not do too much psychological damage," he said. "You try to look at the facts and not get too emotional about it. It was two hours of relentless pace and swing. They never took the pressure off. It was incredible."