Plays of the Day: Dubai, day two

Blog Opinion

A look at the action on day two of the second Test in Dubai, where Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers dominated the action.

<b>Shot of the Day</b><br>The stroke didn't bring a boundary, and wasn't textbook-esque, but encompassed all that is <b>Graeme Smith</b> Belligerence. Somewhat bogged down in the 90s, the left-hander whipped out a heavy straight drive to reach a ton – and the celebrations were duly animated. He need this, and it showed.

<b>Delivery of the Day</b><br>It only removed the nightwatchman, but <b>Mohammad Irfan's</b> peach to Dale Steyn was a sight to behold. Pitching, straightening, and clipping the off-stump, the left-armer enjoyed a good start. Nothing else followed suit, though, as the lanky seamer's difficulties – running on the pitch, warned, etc – epitomised Pakistan's pain.

<b>Hero of the Day</b><br>After several months away from the game, <b>Graeme Smith</b> struggled for a fruitful return. Thursday, however, was the latest in umpteen watershed moments during a prolific career. Smith needed to prove to himself more than his critics that he still belongs at this level. Bodes very, very well for testing series against India and Australia.

<b>Villain of the Day</b><br>AB de Villiers would not have reached anywhere near three figures, had <b>Adnan Akmal</b> not afforded the eventual centurion an early lifeline. The wicketkeeper has coughed up a few clangers this series, and Thursday's was certainly the most costly of the lot.

<b>Promise of the Day</b><br>Suggestions of a declaration are not warranted, and South African fans should look forward to <b>more batting</b> on Friday, while Pakistan face another daunting session or two in the stifling heat. The Proteas, to rectify the many wrongs accrued over the lost series opener, must truly make the opposition submit inside four days.

<b>Tweet of the Day</b><br> <b>Hashim Amla</b>, again, still waiting for his second child – and nursing a severe case of <i>fomo</i>: "Awesome knock, AB de Villiers. Lead getting pretty big now too. ‏Superb effort captain, Graeme Smith. Keep going, boys."