The many varied faces of Pakistan

Curious first day between South Africa and Pakistan. I fancy Pakistan against most teams, through sheer force of talent, yet you can never be certain which side will turn up. Will it be the aggressive, gifted team with a hunger for the extraordinary? Or will it be the blind, hapless tourists?

Both sides played against South Africa today. They lost two wickets in the morning but fought hard. They laid a foundation after lunch before counterattacking with verve afterwards, with Younis and Yasir putting on 133. Then, after a 15-minute cup-of-tea, crazy madness ensued and they shot themselves in the head with three near-identical dismissals: two hooks and a pull. Pakistan fell for the bait like a desperate, emaciated salmon. Younis defended the three careless shots, insisting that it demonstrated the side’s aggressive nature. Well that’s all very well if it works, Younis…which it did not. Both he and Yasir ought to have ended the day unbeaten with three figures to their name.

Inzamam might yet produce one of his herculean innings, but which side of his side will turn up tomorrow?

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