The Proteas lost two wickets in the morning session but Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis set the innings on course once more.
There were cries of joy from the Proteas camp when skipper Quinton de Kock won the toss and chose to bat. The Karachi wicket looked bare, and would be at its best for batting on day one and two, before it starts to spin big thereafter.
A big first-innings total was therefore essential and winning the toss gave the Proteas an undeniable edge in this regard. The Proteas openers shot out of the gates, exploiting favourable conditions to their advantage. However, Markram got a beast of a delivery from Shaheen Afridi, which caught his edge and spat to second slip where Imraan Butt took a blinder.
Despite this, none of the attacking intent was lost, Elgar and new partner Rassie van der Dussen jumping on every opportunity to score. Van der Dussen looked in complete control, as he often does, but inexplicably set off for a single after hitting the ball directly to the mid-off fielder. Elgar stood his ground, leaving Van der Dussen scrambling to get back into his crease. He didn’t, and South Africa were 63-2.
With the Proteas in a transitionary phase, Elgar and Faf du Plessis have become the team’s key batsmen and, as they did against Sri Lanka, they once again anchored the innings after early setbacks, the tourists on 94-2 at lunch.
Neither were conservative in their approach either, and their ongoing presence at the crease post-lunch will drive the Proteas toward their goal of a first-innings score that will put Pakistan under immense pressure.
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