Editor's Pick

The 100

The 100 - Watch First

Series 2, Episode 1 The 48 23 Oct 14 00:40:46

Top Shows

Contact ONE News

Abbott has Pakistan reeling in near-record debut

Published: 9:23AM Sunday February 24, 2013 Source: Reuters

Five days ago pace bowler Kyle Abbott was planning to play in a domestic T20 match for his Dolphins franchise this weekend. Now he has the second-best Test figures ever on debut for South Africa.

Abbott plundered Pakistan in their first innings, as he took 7-29 to leave the tourists 156 all out and put the Proteas, who amassed 409 in their first innings, firmly in control of the third test at Centurion today.

Pakistan were forced to follow on and now face defeat inside three days, after limping to 14-1 in their second innings, still trailing South Africa by 239 runs.

Abbott was only called-up to the national side on Wednesday (NZT) as cover, following an injury to Morne Morkel, but a calf injury to Jacques Kallis has allowed him to make his international debut.

"I don't think it has really sunk in yet," said Abbott. "I haven't had any sleep in the last two days, but for the first time now, I don't have sweaty palms and a knot in my stomach, so maybe that is a sign I am starting to feel at home with these guys."

Abbott believes the team bowled well as a unit today and as the hosts piled on the pressure to stifle the Pakistani batsmen.

"We were building pressure all day," he said. "I thought all the seamers bowled really well, even better than I did.

"It could have been anybody's day, but luckily, it was me. Graeme [Smith] kept asking me, 'are you done?', and the word 'no' just kept coming out my mouth.

"Dale [Steyn] was also awesome, he stood next to me for most of my spell and just told me to be patient and hit the right areas."

It was a stunning turnaround in fortunes for the 25-year-old Abbott, who admitted he had been "going through the motions" in his first-class career, before former South African international Lance Klusener arrived to coach his franchise.

Co-incidentally, it is Klusener who has best test figures on debut for South Africa, after he took 8-64 in India in the 1996/97 season.

"Lance has been unbelievable, he has really helped me on the mental side of the game," Abbot said. "He hasn't tried to change my technique.

"He has just spoken to me about hitting the deck a bit harder. In the last few years, I was going through the motions a bit, but he gave me a kick up the backside."

Wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, whose fine innings of 121 earlier in the day was overshadowed by Abbott's heroics, said the control with which Abbott bowled was most impressive.

"It was an amazing performance," De Villiers said. "He didn't show any signs of nerves and was hitting the deck hard in a good area more often than not.

"It's a captain's dream to have a guy like Kyle, he has a lot of control and knows what he is doing. He made the batsmen work all day."

South Africa lead the three match series 2-0.

Advertising