Olivier stakes claim to fame

Temba Bavuma celebrates after getting his 50th run during day two of the Test match between SA and Pakistan at SuperSport Park cricket stadium in Centurion on Thursday
Temba Bavuma celebrates after getting his 50th run during day two of the Test match between SA and Pakistan at SuperSport Park cricket stadium in Centurion on Thursday

SA’s fast bowler Duanne Olivier continued to stamp his authority in Centurion with a further five wickets on day two of the Boxing Day Test to take his tally for the match to a highly commendable 11.

Olivier now has a 10-wicket haul to his name at this level of the game and his exploits have left SA needing only 149 runs to win the first Test.

The Proteas bowled out Pakistan for a cheap 190 after 56 overs with a second innings lead of 148 runs.

Olivier‚ who tormented the Pakistani batsmen with his pace and bounce‚ returned with impressive figures of 6/37 on the opening day, but he further accelerated on Thursday to end on 5/59 as he became the third South African to take 10 wickets in a Test match against Pakistan.

Olivier’s overall match figures are 11/96.

The match will resume on Friday with Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram faced with the task of giving SA a good start as they chase the 149 target set by a Pakistan side that was not impressive with the bat.

Kagiso Rabada also impressed with the ball with a late surge in the third session by claiming the wickets of Babar Azam (6)‚ Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (0)‚ who is yet to score a run in this series after two golden ducks‚ and Muhammad Amir (12).

With the wicket of Amir‚ Rabada achieved a significant personal milestone of having taken an impressive 52 Test wickets after 10 matches‚ which makes him the leading wicket-taker of 2018.

Before Rabada entered the fray‚ it was all about Olivier, who rattled Pakistan’s second innings with the wickets of Fakhar Zaman (12)‚ Imam-ulHaq (57)‚ Azhar Ali (0) and those of Yasir Shah (0) and Shaheen Afridi (4) late in the session to round off a splendid bowling performance.

The other important contributor to the Proteas’ cause was Dale Steyn with the wickets of Asad Shafiq (6) and dangerman Shan Masood‚ who top scored for Pakistan with a defiant knock of 65‚ to register his 50th wicket against Pakistan.

Besides half-centuries by Imam-ul-Haq and Masood‚ Pakistan’s batting card made for sorry reading as they were bowled out for under 200 for the second time.

As SA and Pakistan contest their first Test in searing heat, away from the field the airwaves are hotting up too.

Some hot-under-the-collar viewers of the SABC, and to a lesser degree SuperSport‚ are asking questions about the quality of their broadcasts.

The SABC‚ which got broadcaster rights to the recently completed Manzi Super League, has had a much diminished presence at this Test.

The embattled organisation is producing the bulk of its television broadcast from its studios‚ while its radio transmissions are coming from its adjacent Auckland Park tower.

The broadcaster, which is in the throes of aggressive cost cutting, deemed it too great an expense to dispatch an outside broadcast unit 45km north up the M1 and N1 motorways.

Its bean counters also arrived at the conclusion that installing Telkom lines‚ which would have facilitated broadcast from the stadium‚ was a potential bank-breaker.

The upshot is that it only has two commentators and a field reporter on site. The rest of the team are at HQ.

How the public broadcaster spends its money has been the topic of lively debate.

Over at SuperSport, the most pressing issue was the introduction of former Test star Makhaya Ntini to its English commentary lineup.

The former quick is an enthusiastic mischief-making goofball around the media centre. However‚ the transfer of some of those characteristics on air has not gone down well with certain cricket followers.

Social media and WhatsApp groups have been abuzz‚ with one Twitter devotee lamenting: “Ntini’s commentary is a tumble of bad jokes and laughing at his bad jokes.”

A Facebook user opined: “What did we do to deserve commentary by Makhaya Ntini? As it is it’s been an awful year‚ but no‚ SuperSport has to pile on the misery.”

Additional reporting by Liam del Carme