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Botha puts Pakistan in a spin

Johan Botha dismantled Pakistan’s middle order as the designated hosts limped to 214 for five at lunch on the third day of the first Test against South Africa at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Off-spinner Botha sent down a spell that allowed him to pick up 3-30 off 11 overs as Pakistan suffered a middle-order wobble in which they lost three wickets for 26 runs.

Botha’s efforts ensured that Pakistan reached the break still trailing the visitors by 166 runs on the first innings with the bowler heading to the interval with figures of 3-48 off 21 overs.

Pakistan had resumed on 144-2 and there was not much on offer for South Africa’s seamers as they failed to extract any movement through the air or off the slow pitch at the start of play, but Botha troubled the batsman as he found both bounce and turn.

Younis Khan (35) and Azhad Ali gave Pakistan a solid start as they stretched their third-wicket stand to 65 before the former became Botha’s first victim when the batsman chipped a delivery to short midwicket.

Younis’s dismissal left Pakistan on 176-3 and Botha quickly accounted for Misbah-ul-Haq (9), caught at short leg, before Umar Akmal (4) slashed a delivery from the same bowler to point.

Ali continued to defy the bowlers as he brought up a patient half-century off 144 balls just before the break to be not out 50 as lunch was taken.

South Africa, who won the toss and opted to bat first, scored 380 in their first innings with skipper Graeme Smith leading the way with his 22nd test century. – Reuters

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