Battling Pakistan holds up South Africa victory march

Updated 04 February 2013
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Battling Pakistan holds up South Africa victory march

JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq held up South Africa’s push for victory with a defiant fifth wicket partnership on the third day of the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium yesterday.
Pakistan were 183 for four at the close after being set to make an improbable 480 to win.
The match seemed headed for an early finish when the first four wickets fell for 82 runs, but Pakistan captain Misbah (44 not out) and the stocky Shafiq (53 not out) defended grimly for more than three hours, adding an unbeaten 101.
South Africa remained in a strong position to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, however, with a second new ball due after five overs on Monday and only wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed of the remaining batsmen likely to offer sustained resistance to the South African fast bowlers.
Both Misbah and Shafiq had let-offs.
Shafiq edged an outswinger from Vernon Philander to Graeme Smith at first slip when he had 40 and the total was on 155. Shafiq had almost reached the boundary edge when his dressing room alerted him to a television replay which showed that Philander had bowled a no-ball.
Four balls later, Misbah, on 31, sliced a drive against Jacques Kallis to backward point, but Robin Peterson, diving to his right, could not hold a waist-high chance.
Before Misbah and Shafiq came together everything had seemed to be going South Africa’s way.
AB de Villiers hurried to a century before South Africa declared on 275 for three, leaving Pakistan with an hour’s batting before lunch.
De Villiers needed only 33 balls to move from his overnight 63 to 103 not out.
He and Hashim Amla added 68 in nine overs before the declaration, which came immediately after De Villiers punched Umar Gul to the cover boundary to reach his 15th Test century off 117 balls. He hit 11 boundaries.
Amla was unbeaten on 74 off 114 balls with seven fours. The pair put on an unbeaten 176 for the fourth wicket, easily the best partnership of the match.
After being routed for their all-time low total of 49 in the first innings, Pakistan made a more confident start to the second innings and Mohammad Hafeez was somewhat unfortunate to fall to a diving catch by AB de Villiers when he glanced Philander to leg.
Nasir Jamshed and Azhar Ali put on 57 for the second wicket but tight bowling by Dale Steyn and Philander after lunch slowed the scoring rate down.
The left-handed Jamshed, playing in his first Test match, looked solid before he was out for 46 when he pulled Steyn tamely to midwicket.
Azhar followed three overs later for 18. Having been subjected to some hostile short-pitched bowling from Steyn he was trapped in front of his stumps when he played across a full delivery from Kallis.
Morne Morkel took his first wicket of the match when Younes Khan was caught behind for 15, nibbling at and then attempting to withdraw his bat from a fast delivery outside his off stump.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.