As South Africa came out to chase a fairly low total of 149 runs, it was not easy for the hosts as Pakistani bowlers struck early, removing Aiden Markram on a duck, but they missed a couple of chances that cost them the game.
Pakistan’s opening bowlers, Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali were on target from the word go. Hasan Ali got the better of Markram early in the inning, but Fakhar Zaman dropped an out-of-form Hashim Amla at gully, whereas Dean Elgar survived after a controversial decision where Azhar Ali caught him at the first slip off Shaheen Shah.
Azhar Ali took a good low catch, Elgan did not complain and started to walk off the field, but the two field umpires gathered to talk, despite a soft signal of not out, the left-handed opening batsman was given not out by the third umpire, though the evidence was insufficient to reverse the decision.
Afterwards, the two senior pros of South Africa took control of the game and went on to score half-centuries apiece. Elgan fell to the part-timer Shan Masood after scoring 50, at a total of 119, which meant the damage had already been done.
Proteas had some hiccups at the end of the inning as they lost Theunis de Bruyne and Faf Du Plessis, who scored a pair like his Pakistan counterpart Sarfraz Ahmed, but it was too late for Pakistan to have a laugh.
Amla provided the finishing touch and remained not out on 64, which gave the hosts win by six wickets and a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series.
Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Yasir Shah and Shan Masood took one wicket each, while Mohammad Amir remained wicketless in the second inning of the match.
Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first on a track that seems tricky to bat on. Duannes Olivier destroyed Pakistan batting line with astounding figures of 6/37, whereas Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn took 3 and 1 wicket respectively.
Babar Azam remained the best batsman for Pakistan in the first inning, playing an impressive inning of 71 runs, where he dominated Dale Steyn absolutely fearlessly. Apart from Azam, Azhar Ali and Hasan Ali were the two top-scorers with 36 and 21 runs respectively.
Pakistani bowlers did not let South African batsmen to breathe freely and removed half of their batting line for 112 runs. However, it was the stubborn inning of Temba Bavuma, who scored gritty 53 runs, while Quinton de Kock contributed precious 45 runs in the lower order, which took the Proteas to 223 runs, giving them a 42-run lead.
In the second inning, Pakistan’s top-order performed well with the opener Imam Ul Haq scoring a half-century. Pakistan were 101/1, but this time it was the middle order that proved to be fragile. Azhar Ali got out for a duck, while Asad Shafiq managed just six runs. The struggling skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed could not open his account in both the innings, while the first inning hero, Babar Azam contributed merely six runs.
Shan Masood was the lone warrior for Pakistan in the middle, who played an outstanding inning 65 runs, batting with the tailenders. Hasan Ali showed some resistance with his batting partner, Masood, remaining not out on 11.
Pakistan managed 190 runs in their second inning, which set a target of 149 runs for the hosts. Duanne Olivier once again shined with the ball, taking his second five-wicket haul of the match. Whereas, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn took two and three wickets respectively.
The second Test of the series will be played from January 3 to 7 at Cape Town.