THE more I watch the Pakistan batsmen on this tour the more I continue to get convinced that the way they handle pace and bounce of the pitch in this country they give me, and all of us, the impression that they are no less than sitting ducks against extreme pace and bounce.
This has been seem time and again as men of such experience like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq fail to organise themselves to play long innings. If they are unable to do so, how can one expect the other inexperienced batsmen such as Fakhar, Imam, Babar and others to stand up and be counted.
Azhar’s dismissal on the first evening while facing Vernon Philander is a clear example of inept technique skills as he without movement of the feet offered his bat to a slow moving ball to be caught.
Similarly yesterday after Mohammad Abbas departed following a barrage of short-pitched deliveries and bravely too, he did showed the rest as to how to sway away from the bouncers and rising deliveries.
That did not help Asad either as he ducked underneath a bouncer in fear with his bat high in the air like a periscope and gloves exposed to get a caught. How inadequate in skills a frontline batsman could be to get into a situation like that.
It is the same old story for Pakistan batsmen at the Wanderers
On this tour only two batsmen — Shan Masood and Babar Azam — seemed to have shown improvement to tackle consistently bowled deliveries in line of their body but they too when settled to play a productive innings discovered themselves wanting in the art of concentration and staying ability at the crease.
If only they are able to learn that to choose the right balls to hook, pull or steer they could in future develop into reliable batsmen.
At the moment, they are not and that is where it is important to analyse their own shortcomings which allows them to succumb to pressure or call it their own boredom of surviving in the middle perhaps.
Those who must have watched Babar’s dismissal would know that his attempted hook was not needed at the time when looking in fine fiddle to last a session.
Earlier, Imam-ul-Haq lived a charmed life till dismissed in a fashion which certainly will not in any way serve him right in the long run.
Restricting South Africa to a minimum in their first innings was a super effort by our bowlers but then again they were failed by their batsmen who faltered once again to be bowled out for under 200.
The 77-run lead obtained by Dean Elgar’s men could hurt Pakistan most in the fourth innings.
The South African batsmen against Pakistan bowlers are struggling as well barring a few. It is their bowling though which makes the major difference to uplift their whole makeup and their mind set.
On Sunday, a lot will depend on how long the South Africans can bat and if they are not bowled out early, Pakistan could well be staring at another whitewash.