Cricket-Babar Azam
Pakistan captain Babar Azam (right) is greeted by Fawad Alam on reaching his half-century on the first day of the second Test against South Africa in Rawalpindi on Thursday. Image Credit: AFP

Rawalpindi: Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Fawad Alam put on an unbeaten century stand to rescue the hosts from early trouble and lead them to 145 for three at the close of a rain-shortened first day of the second Test with South Africa in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

Babar won the toss and chose to bat as Pakistan look to close out the two-match series and he is not out on 77, having so far put on 123 for the fourth wicket with Fawad (42 not out) to frustrate the tourists.

South Africa had made inroads into the Pakistan top order when they reduced the home team to 22 for three, with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (2-51) striking early with the new ball.

He had opener Imran Butt (15) caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock when the batsman tried to steer a delivery to third man, before trapping the dangerous Azhar Ali leg before wicket for a duck.

Seamer Anrich Nortje picked up the third wicket as Aiden Markram took a superb one-handed diving catch at short leg to dismiss Abid Ali (6).

But Babar and Fawad then set about restoring the innings as the wicket lost some of its early morning venom. South Africas second spinner George Linde was forced off after just 2.5 overs with a laceration to the small finger on his left hand.

Scans revealed no fracture but Linde is likely to be impeded for the rest of the Test, which will be a blow for the visitors.

The rain started to fall as the players went off for tea, with the entire final session lost.

Pakistan are unchanged from their seven-wicket first Test win, while South Africa included all-rounder Wiaan Mulder in the place of Lungi Ngidi.

Scorecard

Pakistan (1st innings)

Imran Butt c de Kock b Maharaj 15

Abid Ali c Markram b Nortje 6

Azhar Ali lbw b Maharaj 0

Babar Azam not out 77

Fawad Alam not out 42

Extras (b2, nb3) 5

Total: (58 overs, for three wkts) 145

Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Butt), 2-21 (Azhar), 3-22 (Abid)

Bowling: Rabada 13-1-36-0, Nortje 11-3-30-1, Maharaj 25-7-51-2, Linde 2.5-1-2-0, Elgar 1.1-0-6-0, Mulder 5-1-18-0

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)

TV umpire: Asif Yaqoob (PAK)

Match referee: Mohammad Javed Malik (PAK)

AFP