Malik and Butt keep Pakistan alive against South Africa

KARACHI, Oct 3 (Reuters) Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik struck a fighting half century to keep his team alive against South Africa at lunch on the third day of the first test today.

Malik, leading his country for the first time in tests, made an undefeated 61 and shared a seventh-wicket stand of 70 with deputy Salman Butt to take Pakistan to 219 for six at the interval.

The home side still need 32 to avoid the follow-on in reply to South Africa's first-innings total of 450.

Malik, 25, passed 1000 test runs by lifting left-arm spinner Paul Harris for six over long-on just before the interval.

Pakistan, resuming on a precarious 127 for five, lost nightwatchman Abdul Rehman in the eighth over when he was caught behind by Mark Boucher off Andre Nel for nine.

Malik was joined by Butt, who could not open the innings on the second day after being taken to hospital with stomach pains.

The left-handed Butt provided strong support for his captain, playing with an assurance that belied his condition to reach 22 not out at the interval. The two batted out the remaining 88 minutes with Malik farming the majority of the strike.

Malik was in fine form after resuming on nine and was particularly severe on anything short despite the slow nature and low bounce of the pitch.

He reached his sixth test half century from 118 balls and including five fours.


Story first published: Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 14:43 [IST]
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