Babar, Fawad rescue Pakistan from rocky start in second SA Test

The pair had put on 123 undefeated runs for the fourth wicket when rain brought an early end to proceedings on Day 1.

Pakistani batsman Fawad Alam in action during the first day of second Test against South Africa at Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Fawad Alam put on an unbeaten century stand to rescue the host from early trouble and lead it 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 and was not out on 77, having so far put on 123 for the fourth wicket with Fawad (42 not out) to frustrate the tourist.

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

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He had opener Imran Butt (15) caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock when the batsman tried to steer a delivery to the 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).

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

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

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

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