Graeme Smith smashed a double century and AB de Villiers hit a robust hundred to guide South Africa to an imperious position in the must-win second Test against Pakistan. The South African skipper made 227 not out, his fifth double ton, while De Villiers — dropped by wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal off the first delivery he faced, bowled by paceman Mohammad Irfan — was unbeaten on 157, his 17th Test century.
The duo plundered a hapless Pakistan attack to take South Africa to 460/4 at close on Day Two, giving them a 361-run lead with three days to play to force a series-levelling win. Pakistan won the first Test by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi last week. Smith and De Villiers set an all time South African record for the fifth wicket in Tests with their unbroken stand of 326, beating the 267 set by Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince against the West Indies at Antigua in 2005.
The experienced duo plundered Pakistan’s attack on a Dubai stadium pitch which gave little help to the bowlers, who only managed one wicket all day, that of nightwatchman Dale Steyn.
Smith reached his fifth double hundred with a couple off left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar towards mid-wicket, which also took him to 9,000 runs in 112 Tests. He became the 12th batsmen to reach the landmark and the second South African after teammate Jacques Kallis, who so far has 13,140 runs in 164 Tests.
The South African captain, seeking to maintain his team’s unbeaten run away from home since losing to Sri Lanka in 2006, raised his arms to the applause of his team-mates. In all Smith hit 16 boundaries in 367 deliveries of complete domination. De Villiers was in more punishing mood, hitting 16 boundaries and a six off 262 balls. Akmal faltered once more when he dropped Smith off Babar when he was on 202, capping a miserable day for his team.
Smith, overnight on 67, anchored the innings and reached his century with a straight drive for four off Saeed Ajmal. It took Smith 204 balls to reach the milestone. Pakistan took the new ball straightaway after the 80th over but it only upped the scoring rate, with de Villiers hitting Irfan for successive boundaries and one off Babar to bring up his fifty. He also completed 1,000 runs against Pakistan in 12 Tests.
Brief scores: Pakistan 99 in 36.4 overs vs South Africa 460/4