Nauman Ali and Yasir Shah shared 14 wickets in the game as Pakistan posted a comfortable seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the Karachi Test. Nauman Ali was the star for Pakistan as he picked up a five-wicket haul on debut. He finished the innings with 5 for 37 in 25 overs while finished the match with figures of 42.3-12-73-7.
Not only he was pivotal in Pakistan’s win in Karachi but it also gave Yasir Shah the much-needed cushion that he has been missing for a long time. Yesterday, the duo bowled 44 overs between them. Although Aiden Markram and Rassie Van Der Dussen put up great resistance with a partnership of 127 runs in 51 overs but both spinners kept asking the questions. Yasir Shah was the more lethal but Nauman Ali kept the pressure on with his miserly spells.
During the course of both innings, one thing was pretty evident that Nauman holding up one end allowed Yasir to ball attacking lengths. In the past year or so, this has been Pakistan’s problem. The team management persisted with a three-man pace attack of Muhammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah and Naseem Shah. Both Abbas and Shaheen had been giving good starts to Pakistan but Naseem was going for runs. This used to create even more pressure on Yasir Shah as he had to stem the flow of runs but also needed to take wickets which is why he was going for runs.
The 34-year-old from Sanghar has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuit for quite some time. In the recently concluded season of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he finished the wicket taking charts on number two. He bagged 61 wickets at an average of 23 for Northern. In the 2019-20 season, he was the leading wicket-taker with 54 and led a young Northern side to the final. A year before that he picked up 43 wickets for Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in eight matches.
Yasir Shah is probably the most experienced bowler in the side, but his performances have been below par in the last 2 years. In New Zealand, he had no rhythm or bite in his bowling. In the first Test, he conceded 113 runs in 37 overs in the first innings. He bowled just 6 overs in the second innings and was dropped from the second Test.
In the first innings, Nauman picked up two crucial wickets. Dean Elgar who was looking set for a big one was set up brilliantly by the left-arm spinner. He kept pushing the ball away from the left-hander trying to get him to drive and eventually edged one to Babar Azam in the slips. Then he dismissed South African captain by bowling away from his strong zone and in his frustration, Quinton De Kock tried to heave one from the off-side to leg side and got caught.
You can say that the pitch in National Stadium Karachi has been conducive for spin but it was the bowling partnership of Yasir and Nauman that kept South African batsmen puzzled and Pakistani cricket fans will be hoping to see the duo ball together in future as well.