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SA in control despite Kirsten mishap

South Africa scored 320 in its first innings on Friday and while batsman Gary Kirsten got a nasty blow off a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2003 19:13 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

South Africa scored 320 in its first innings of the first cricket Test against Pakistan on Friday and while batsman Gary Kirsten got a nasty blow off a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer.

Pakistan will begin its first innings on Saturday half an hour early after bad light stopped play five overs before the scheduled close.

The experienced left-handed Kirsten got 10 stitches and two minor fractures, one on the nose and the other just below the left eye, as he missed the line of one of Akhtar's lightning bouncers.

Kirsten remained conscious and walked off the field with blood gushing from a deep wound under his left eye after scoring 53, including eight fours, in two hours.

Taufeeq Umer got his fingers onto a head-high catch in the slips when Kirsten was on four, but couldn't hold onto it. Yasir Hameed then floored a slip catch just before the lunch break to let Kirsten off the hook again on 45.

South African media manager Gerald de Kock said Kirsten was positive after receiving medical care.

"The next 24 hours are critical," he said. "His left eye is badly bruised, but Kirsten is confident to play in the Test match."

Akhtar had Neil McKenzie leg before off the next delivery after Kirsten retired hurt. But Mark Boucher then played Pakistan spinners with command and hit 11 boundaries in his 96-ball knock of 72.

Boucher was involved in two productive partnerships. He added 70 runs with Boeta Dippenaar (24) and then contributed a further 53 runs with Shaun Pollock (28) before off-spinner Shoaib Malik dismissed all three of them.

Dippenaar and Boucher were both caught by Imran Farhat in the leg slip while Pollock was bowled as he failed to read a sharp off-spin delivery. Malik finished with career-best figures of four for 42.

Captain Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs gave South Africa a confident start of 52 within the first hour of the match after South Africa won the toss and decided to bat first.

Smith was severe on Akhtar, hitting four boundaries off him. On 33, Smith miscued a pull shot off Mohammad Sami and gave debutant Asim Kamal an easy catch at mid-on.

Akhtar went for 28 runs in four overs before the two leg-spinners — Mushtaq Ahmad and Danish Kaneria — bowled in tandem on the grassless wicket where there was some turn for the slow bowlers.

Kaneria had early success when Gibbs (27) edged the big leg-spinner to Umer, who snapped up the ball just off the ground.

Jacques Kallis (29), who was also let off by Moin Khan behind the wickets, was lucky not to be given out on 23 by English umpire Neil Mallender — standing in his first Test match.

Television replays clearly showed that Kallis got a big inside edge off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria when on 22 to give a catch at forward short leg but Mallender thought otherwise.

However, Mallender had little doubts soon after lunch when Kallis became Kaneria's second scalp and was caught behind.

Mushtaq Ahmad, who took 105 wickets in this season's English county championship, to force his way back into the team, had a disappointing return to Test cricket after 2 1/2 years.

The leg-spinner bowled 18 overs but ended wicketless after conceding 80 runs. He played in his comeback one-day international against the South Africans but conceded 65 runs in the first limited overs game at the same venue earlier this month and couldn't take a wicket.

Pakistan gave his first Test captaincy to 27-year-old middle-order batsman Kamal after captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.

The home team packed its line-up with three spinners. South Africa has fielded just one, Paul Adams, and four seamers — Pollock, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini and Kallis.


First Published: Oct 17, 2003 10:53 IST