Pakistan struggling against the odds, and Mark Boucher’s record

Pakistan have their work cut out to get something out of the First Test against South Africa. The Proteas scored 450, on the back of a big hundred by Jacques Kallis, who certainly would have had a point to prove to the selectors who left him out of the Twenty20 team. Then the rather unlikely sight of a South African spinner on top, Paul Harris taking 5 for 73. That left Pakistan all out for 291, and it could have been even less if it wasn’t for some stout lower order batting. Now South Africa in their second dig are 76 for 3, and the lead is already beyond 200. (scorecard)

The other notable feat of the Test is that South Africa’s keeper, Mark Boucher, has passed Ian Healy’s record for the most dismissals in Tests. He’s a worthy holder of the record, a fine gloveman who has mastered his craft. The one disappointment in his career would have to be that South Africa have not really produced a spin bowler worthy of his talents. On the rare occasion  that I’ve seen him up to the stumps, he’s certainly looked the goods though and it is notable that in Pakistan’s innings he did get two stumpings. There’s nothing wrong with his abilities at what is the ultimate test of a keeper’s skills. (stats)

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