Bavuma survives close calls as Proteas take slim lead at lunch

South Afric were able to take the lead in the first session, going into lunch on 188/4 after 57 overs, a lead of 11 runs.

Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma plays a shot during day two of the second Test match against Pakistan at Newlands in Cape Town on 4 January 2019. Picture: @OfficialCSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Early wickets and a handful of near chances will have improved the mood of Pakistan’s seam bowlers on the second morning of the second Test match in Cape Town.

After yesterday’s grilling at the hands of their South African counterparts, they were able to find openings in the Proteas's top order. But for mere centimeters, the tone of the match would have been very different.

South Africa, however, were able to take the lead in the first session, going into lunch on 188/4 after 57 overs, a lead of 11 runs.

On a pitch that still offered plenty of movement and bounce, the Pakistan bowlers were able to get an early breakthrough. Hashim Amla was bowled around his legs when he walked across a Mohammad Abbas delivery in the 32nd over of the innings, without adding to his overnight score of 24.

Abbas and Shaheen Afridi were able to land the ball in the right areas and create enough doubt in the minds of the South African top order. Over and over.

Theunis de Bruyn put on a patient 13 runs, fully aware of his need to make a big score in this Test. He stuttered along, but he eventually perished at the hands of Afridi, who produced a blistering delivery to find and the hands of Babar Azam in the slips. At 149/4, it was not an ideal start for the Proteas.

Captain Faf du Plessis (33 not out) and Temba Bavuma (15 not out) steadied the innings and saw out the first session with a partnership of 39 runs; but not without some close calls along the way.

Bavuma survived a dismissal in the slips by Azhar Ali off the bowling off Abbas. Ali claimed the wicket but Bavuma stood before the matter was referred to the third umpire. In almost a carbon copy of “the catch that wasn’t” in Centurion in the first Test, excruciating slow-motion replays and magnification suggested the ball touched the ground first before Ali’s fingers got under it. The soft signal from umpire Bruce Oxenford was “out” which meant the third umpire had to find video evidence to the contrary. He did, and there were centimeters in it. Bavuma had another life on the pitch where he scored his maiden Test century.

Two overs later Bavuma was on the box and survived an LBW review. Hawk Eye suggested the ball bounced too high.

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