Plays of the Day: Abu Dhabi, day two

Blog Opinion

A quick review of the day two action from Abu Dhabi, where Pakistan again dominated the South African side as Khurram Manzoor's century stood as the highlight.

<b>Shot of the Day:</b> The stroke, off the third delivery of the innings, brought just three – but offered more than numeric worth. <b>Khurram Manzoor</b>, Pakistan's find of an otherwise plighted series against Zimbabwe recently, picked up where he left off – typified by this textbook cover drive off Dale Steyn. The fast bowler was immediately set off kilter, and never really recovered, marking an uncomfortable precedent for the rest of the Proteas attack.

<b>Delivery of the Day:</b> Azhar Ali is, more often than not, a picture of concentration – particularly outside his off-stump. Seldom tempted and consistently in line, the right-hander largely personifies doggedness. <b>Vernon Philander's</b> return to the attack shortly after tea, though, challenged this all. That characteristic 'fourth stump' line of the prolific right-armer worked a treat, with some slight lateral movement obliging the edge – and a one-handed catch taken by AB de Villiers.

<b>Hero of the Day:</b> Mohammad Hafeez's exit, more so than <b>Shan Masood's</b> addition, lined the Pakistan media's build-up to the match. The debutant, however, successfully countered the imbalance with an innings of outstanding maturity. Facing the planet's top-ranked pace attack is a daunting prospect for any 24-year-old, let alone one expected to fulfill – exactly, instantly – what Hafeez couldn't.

<b>Villain of the Day:</b> A sharp chance, but opportunity lost nonetheless, with <b>Jacques Kallis'</b> slow reaction in the slip cordon affording Shan Masood an early lifeline in the fifth over of the innings. Masood was only on nine at the time, and perhaps the creature comforts – beer, golf, couch – of a lengthy break away from the game are to be blamed for Kallis' uncharacteristic misdemeanour.

<b>Promise of the Day:</b> Conditions in the United Arab Emirates will near demand the selection of a second specialist slow bowler throughout the series. Graeme Smith and Russell Domingo, however, have refused to fix what isn't broken – pretty much sticking with the stock-standard XI that has served the nation well for the past 24 months. And in <b>JP Duminy</b> they have a part-time spinner more than capable of holding an end – and breaking key partnerships.

<b>Tweet of the Day:</b> Pakistan refugee-cum-Australian ODI spinner <b>Fawad Ahmed</b> paid homage to his country of birth: "Unbelievable and Unpredictable Green Shirts… Giving tough time to World No 1 Proteas."

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