Misbah, Shafiq halt South Africa win bid

Skipper Misbah-ul Haq and Asad Shafiq scored fighting half-centuries to keep South Africa at bay on the fourth day of the second Test in Dubai on Saturday.

At lunch Pakistan were 198-4 with Misbah unbeaten on 60 and Shafiq 67 not out, with the two having so far added 128 for the unbroken fifth wicket stand at Dubai Stadium.

Pakistan still need another 220 to avoid an innings defeat.

The day began with the news that South African player Faf du Plessis had been fined 50 percent of his match fee on ball tampering charges by match referee David Boon of Australia.

On Friday the 29-year-old South African was caught by television cameras rubbing the ball on the zip of his trousers in an apparent move to change the condition of the ball.

Boon held a hearing later Friday during which Du Plessis pleaded guilty, becoming the first South African punished for ball tampering in international cricket.

On the field, Misbah and Shafiq added injury to South Africa’s insult by batting with a resolve to fight hard.

South Africa, seeking a series-levelling win, tried valiantly to dislodge the two batsmen and even got a reprieve when Shafiq was adjudged leg-before off paceman Vernon Philander in the fifth over of the day.

But Pakistan took a review against Australian umpire Rod Tucker’s decision and the replay showed the ball was missing leg stump. Shafiq was then on 36.

Shafiq, who scored 54 in Pakistan’s seven-wicket win in last week’s first Test in Abu Dhabi, reached his ninth Test fifty when he guided Jean-Paul Duminy towards third man. It took him 121 balls, with his knock featuring four boundaries and a six.

Misbah followed Shafiq, reaching his 22nd half-century in Test cricket with a single towards third man off paceman Morne Morkel. He also took 121 balls and hit three fours and six.

South Africa took the second new ball straightaway after the 80th over with Pakistan 196-4 but Shafiq and Misbah held out. (AFP)