The capitulation of Pakistan inside three days at the Super Sport Park in Centurion, which gave them a 3-0 drubbing against South Africa, was perfectly representative of the woes of Misbah-Ul-Haq and his men. Like in the first two Tests, they had their chances with the ball, but every time they allowed the Proteas to escape. With the bat, they were consistently inconsistent throughout the series. Barring a couple of brilliant individual performances from a couple of their batsmen, they did nothing to write home about. As so often in the past, their batting collapses did irreparable damage to their, anyways slim, chances.
Take away the first innings of the second Test at Cape Town, and Pakistan’s batting was disastrous to say the least. Even in the aforementioned innings, the visitors stuttered after fighting centuries from Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq. With a lot of inexperience in the side, Pakistan needed their tried and tested batters to stand up and be counted. It was far from the case. The captain, Misbah, registered just one half century during the course of the three Tests. Opener Mohammad Hafeez hardly made a run, and while Younis did register a ton, he had nothing else to show for the rest of the series. Imran Farhat got a chance at Centurion, but he threw it away after getting starts in both innings.
Pakistan’s bowling, which has always been their stronger suit, was competent for sure. Saeed Ajmal was brilliant once again; in fact he was one of the key reasons why Pakistan managed to put South Africa in a tight spot more often than once during the series. Unfortunately, he found little in the form of support from others. Mohammad Irfan was impressive in phases but did not have the wickets to show. Umar Gul was well below expectations while the rest merely made up the numbers.
One of the key reasons why Pakistan failed to win any of the Tests was because they allowed the Proteas to claw back into the game every time they held the upper hand. In the first Test, the hosts were bowled out cheaply, but in their reply Pakistan crumbed to 49 all out. That set the tone of the series. Thus, on every occasion that South Africa found themselves under the cosh, Pakistan game them an outlet to escape. At Cape Town, they crumbled in the second innings to gift away the series and in the final Test, they failed to keep a debutant fast bowler, Kyle Abbott, at bay. All these factors combined, Pakistan were deserved losers.
When Misbah and his men arrived in South Africa, there were plenty of hopes from the side, since this bunch of players had gained a reputation of being much more consistent that some of their predecessors. However, in spite of possessing a valuable mix of youth and experience, Pakistan failed to put up a combative show. Partly, it had to do with their lack of application. Above all though, it was a ruthless performance by South Africa that was the difference.
--By A Cricket Analyst