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South Africa confident despite Pakistan fightback
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter


Ground:Centurion Park, Centurion
Scorecard:South Africa v Pakistan
Player:AG Prince, HH Gibbs, JH Kallis, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Younis Khan, Danish Kaneria, SM Pollock, M Ntini, Mohammad Asif, Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Nazir

DateLine: 16th January 2007

 

South African batsmen Ashwell Prince and Herschelle Gibbs said they were confident their side could win the first Test despite a Pakistan fightback on the third day at Centurion Park Saturday. The pair put on 213 for the fifth wicket before South Africa lost their last six wickets for 61 runs, restricting their first innings lead to 104. Pakistan were 103 for two in their second innings, one run behind at stumps. All-rounder Jacques Kallis claimed the wickets of Mohammad Hafeez and Yasir Hameed before the close but Imran Farhat and Younis Khan added an unbeaten 45 to get the tourists close to parity. "We would have liked to have a lead of 150 or 200," said Gibbs. "We've got a lot of work to do tomorrow (Sunday) but we're confident we can chase whatever we have to chase to win." Gibbs, who made 94, said the team's confidence had been boosted by their successful chase to reach a target of 211 against India in Cape Town last week on what Gibbs described as "a much worse wicket than this." Prince, whose dismissal for 138 in the over before lunch sparked the South African collapse, said the match was evenly poised. "But if we can restrict them to a lead of about 200 I'm sure the guys will be confident," said Prince. Prince made his sixth Test century, all scored within the past two years, before he was stumped off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria. Four more wickets fell quickly after the interval before Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini added 26 for the last wicket to take the lead beyond 100. Opening bowler Mohammad Asif dismissed Ntini, caught at second slip, to finish with five for 89, his third five-wicket haul in a seven-Test career. Gibbs was part of the post-lunch collapse, leg before wicket to Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, falling six short of his first Test century in two years. The left-handed Prince batted fluently but survived a close lbw appeal by Mohammad Asif on 98 and an appeal for caught and bowled by Shahid Nazir when he had 126. In the latter incident, Prince mistimed a drive and Nazir picked up the ball low down in his follow through. Nazir threw the ball up in triumph but Prince stood his ground. Umpire Steve Bucknor consulted with square leg umpire Billy Doctrove and the appeal was referred to television umpire Karl Hurter. The replays were inconclusive although it seemed Nazir might have caught the ball on the half-volley and Prince was given not out. "I saw the ball going into his hand," said Prince. "But then I saw it go out of his hand as well and I wasn't sure whether it touched the ground."


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