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Irfan’s 2 wickets restrict South Africa to 66-3

October 14, 2013

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan paceman Mohammad Irfan took two wickets to put South Africa under early pressure Monday as the top-ranked Proteas struggled to 66-3 at lunch Monday on day one of the series-opening test.

The 7-foot-1 left-arm bowler dismissed Alviro Petersen (3) and Graeme Smith (15) to have the South Africans reeling at 19-2 after they’d won the toss and batted.

Petersen was caught at short leg and Smith — returning to international cricket after ankle surgery in May — was adjudged caught behind after Pakistan successfully called for a television referral against the South African captain to reverse onfield umpire Rod Tucker’s original decision.

Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal grabbed a well-judged catch when Kallis got an inside edge off another left-arm fast bowler, Junaid Khan.

Hashim Amla was unbeaten on 30 at the first interval with A.B de Villiers, who scored his career-best unbeaten 278 at the same Sheikh Zayed Stadium three years ago against Pakistan, was batting on 11.

Pakistan awarded test caps to Shan Masood on his 24th birthday and to 34-year-old leftarm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, who replaced injured spinner Abdul Rehman.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq brought Babar into the attack ahead of his trump card Saeed Ajmal, but Amla lifted the spinner over the extra cover for a rare boundary in the first session.

Amla and de Villiers negotiated Ajmal’s three overs before the break without much trouble on a wicket which is expected to suit the spinners more as the game progresses.

South Africa packed its bowling lineup with four seamers led by world No. 1- and 2-ranked test pacemen Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, who is playing in his 50th test, and allrounder Jacques Kallis.

South Africa, which has not lost an away test series since a defeat to Sri Lanka in 2006, thrashed Pakistan 3-0 in a test series at home in February.

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