Proteas look for series whitewash over Pakistan

Last updated 09:23 24/02/2013
Kyle Abbott
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STUNNING DEBUT: Kyle Abbott of South Africa.

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Kyle Abbott took seven wickets on debut to lead South Africa toward a series whitewash as Pakistan was made to follow on in the third test at Centurion.

Abbott's 7-29 represented the second best figures by a South African on test debut, and it helped South Africa bowl Pakistan out for 156 in the evening session on the second day.

That left Pakistan 253 runs short of South Africa's first-innings total, and Proteas skipper Graeme Smith had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on.

Dale Steyn responded by bowling Mohammad Hafeez with the first delivery of the second innings, and Pakistan closed the day on 14-1 - still 239 runs behind South Africa.

Only Lance Klusener, who took 8-64 against India in Kolkata in 1996, has better figures than Abbott among South African debutants, while nobody has enjoyed a better return from an innings at Centurion.

"It's been a special day and special being around these guys, seeing how the No 1 team in the world does their thing," Abbott said. "I haven't got any sleep over the last two days, but for the first time my hands aren't sweating and my stomach is not in a knot."

Abbott had spoken earlier in the week about the positive influence that Klusener, who coaches Abbott at South African franchise the Dolphins, has had on the fast bowler - something he reiterated on Saturday night.

"Lance has been unbelievable," Abott said. "He has helped me on the mental side of things, being slightly more aggressive, and has given me the push I needed."

The 25-year-old Abbott was only picked for the third test after injuries to Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis, but made an impact in his first over of test cricket when he had Hafeez caught at gully by Dean Elgar.

Vernon Philander had already trapped Imran Farhat lbw for 30, and he followed Abbott's strike with the wicket of Azhar Ali as Pakistan threw away its most successful opening partnership of the series by losing three wickets for 10 runs.

With Abbott having Misbah-ul-Haq caught at second slip just before tea and Dale Steyn trapping Asad Shafiq lbw just after the interval, Pakistan was 95-5 and its long tail was exposed.

Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed put up resistance alongside Younis for more than 10 overs, but Abbott blew away the tail with two double-wicket maidens.

First, he had both Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal caught at first slip by Smith in consecutive deliveries, and then he dismissed Ehsan Adil and Mohammad Irfan four overs later.

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When Younis was trapped lbw in Abbott's next over for 33 - Pakistan's top score - the innings was wrapped up and Pakistan was left with a mountain to climb if it is to avoid a heavy defeat.

"If we have one good partnership here, we can fight it out," Hafeez said. "We are very capable of scoring runs on any tracks, but we need things to change."

The day began with South Africa resuming on 334-6, and although Pakistan fast bowler Rahat Ali produced figures of 6-127, the home side was able to post 409 thanks to AB de Villiers' 16th test century and 74 from Philander.

De Villiers and Philander put on 129 for the seventh wicket, with each benefiting from a dropped catch early in the morning session.

Philander was eventually held by Hafeez at first slip after edging a delivery from Khan, while De Villiers was dismissed five overs later for 121 when he took on a short ball from Rahat Ali and was well caught by Shafiq at deep midwicket.

Ali secured his maiden five-wicket haul in his next over when he dismissed Rory Kleinveldt, then finished South Africa off by bowling Abbott for 13, but it was Abbott who ended the day with the applause of the home fans ringing in his ears.

- AP

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