Three reasons why Pakistan lost second Test against South Africa

Victory also helped home side clinch the three-match series

Three reasons why Pakistan lost second Test against South Africa PHOTO: Reuters

South Africa beat Pakistan by nine wickets on the fourth day of the second Test at Newlands on Sunday. 

Pakistan claimed a wicket and forced Hashim Amla to retire hurt before South Africa passed their meagre target after less than an hour's play at Newlands.

Set 41 to win, South Africa reached 43 for the loss of one wicket from 9.5 overs.

The result ensured a seventh successive home series win for South Africa, who won the first Test in Centurion by six wickets. The third and final Test starts in Johannesburg on Friday.

Lets take a look at some of the key reasons behind Pakistan’s defeat in the Cape Town Test.

First innings batting collapse

Pakistan’s top and middle-order batsmen got out cheaply in the first innings after being asked to bat first by South Africa.

The visitors were quickly reduced to 54-5 and had it not been for 62-run sixth wicket partnership between Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and top-order batsman Shan Masood — Pakistan would have been bundled out for a far less total than their final effort of 177 runs.

Unlike Centurion, the Cape Town pitch itself was not a major factor in Pakistan's collapse. It was hard and there was some green grass on the surface but the bounce was largely true and there was no exaggerated sideways movement.

Later on the same day, Proteas openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar put on 56 for the first wicket at almost five runs an over — leaving Pakistan batsmen with a bit of soul searching to do.

Batsmen throwing away wickets at crucial moments

In both innings of the second Test, Pakistan batsmen were guilty of throwing away their wickets after being well-set out there in the middle.

Skipper Sarfraz was dismissed while attempting a needless uppercut, after scoring his half-century.

Masood faltered twice in two innings — dismissed after scores of 44 and 61 —trying to poke at deliveries which could have been left alone comfortably.

Middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq also followed in Masood’s footsteps during the second innings after pushing at one delivery from Vernon Philander outside his off-stump.    

Had one of these players kicked on and got a hundred, Pakistan would have fancied their chances, bearing in mind that the pitch got increasingly difficult to bat on towards the end of third day.

Pakistan denied Bavuma’s wicket in first innings

Before lunch on day two, Pakistan had took two wickets during the first hour and thought they had a third when Bavuma, on three, edged Mohammad Abbas to Azhar Ali at first slip.

The on-field umpires gave a "soft" signal of "out" but asked for television umpire Sunderam Ravi to check whether there had been a clean catch. He decided the ball had made contact with the ground while the catch was being taken. Although one may argue that there was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field call.

Bavuma went on to score 75 runs and notched up a brilliant 156-run partnership for the fifth wicket with captain Faf du Plessis — which set the tone for a massive first innings lead of 254 runs for the home side.