South Africa in command against Pakistan

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KARACHI, Oct 2 (Reuters) Pakistan were struggling to avoid the follow-on after being reduced to 127 for five by South Africa on the second day of the first test today at the National stadium.

Captain Shoaib Malik (9) and Abdul Rehman (1) were at the crease with the home side still requiring another 124 runs to make the visitors bat again after South Africa had made 450.

South Africa, riding on a brilliant 155 from Jacques Kallis and 77 from AB de Villiers, dominated day's play with left-arm spinner Paul Harris getting prodigious turn and bounce on the uneven surface to snap up openers, Kamran Akmal (42) and Mohammad Hafeez (34).

Harris came into his own after the makeshift pair had plundered 71 runs in quick time.

Regular Pakistan opener and vice captain, Salman Butt was unable to bat after being sent to hospital complaining of stomach pain.

Harris trapped Akmal, who hit five fours, leg before and then picked up Hafeez to a catch by Kallis at first slip to leave Pakistan on 84 for two.

Two runs later, Andre Nel delivered a body blow by bowling Younis Khan (6). Faisal Iqbal (7) got an inside edge to his stumps off Kallis.

Misbah appeared untroubled by the pitch to hit four boundaries as his first scoring strokes but on 23 he chased a wide ball from Dale Steyn and was caught behind.

South Africa looked set for an impregnable total after going to lunch on 385 for five but lost their last five wickets for 58 runs.

Debutant left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman took four wickets for 24 runs in 35 balls to hasten the collapse. He dismissed Mark Boucher (1), Nel (2), Harris (1) and Steyn.

''My coach (Geoff Lawson) told me don't take any pressure and just bowl like in a first class match. That advice paid off today for me,'' Rehman told reporters.

''We didn't bowl well on the first day but the pitch is taking more turn and hopefully we will bowl better to Kallis who batted beautifully,'' added Rehman, the first left armer spinner to play for Pakistan since 1999.

Kallis who resumed on 118, fell to leg spinner, Danish Kaneria who became the sixth Pakistani to complete 200 wickets.

The South African hit 19 fours in his 249 balls innings while de Villiers's 77 was his 11th half century and first against Pakistan.

REUTERS SSC MIR RAI2124

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