Slow bowlers Imran Tahir and JP Duminy spun South Africa to a series-levelling innings and 92-run victory over Pakistan on day four of the second test in Dubai on Saturday.
Tahir (three for 98) and Duminy (three for 67) were the central figures for the world’s top test team, whose much-vaunted pace attack was made to look impotent with the wicket offering very little in the way of pace and bounce.
With the series squared 1-1, South Africa have now completed 11 away series without defeat, their last loss coming in Sri Lanka in 2006.
“The first test we were outplayed, we needed to respond and all credit to the guys for the way they played in this game. It was an outstanding four days for us, to respond in these conditions,” South Africa captain Graeme Smith said.
“We pride ourselves on winning series, we haven’t done that now, we would have loved another test match, but we will move on to hopefully bigger things in the future.”
Asad Shafiq, who hit a career-best 130 to stall the South African victory charge, was the last wicket to fall when he was stumped by AB de Villiers off the bowling of Duminy.
He had put on 197 for the fifth wicket with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (88) that frustrated the Proteas until an hour after lunch.
Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 326 in their second innings, a vast improvement on the woeful 99 they managed on day one, but which still 92 runs shy of South Africa’s 517.
Resuming day four on 132-4, Pakistan batted just shy of 54 overs in the day before losing their fifth wicket.
Misbah had looked comfortable at the crease but appeared to lose concentration when he fell to part-time spinner Dean Elgar, who picked up a first test wicket when the Pakistan skipper was caught at slip by Jacques Kallis.
Adnan Akmal (5) and Saeed Ajmal (9) were both lbw victims for Tahir, the former not offering a shot and the latter unable to pick the quicker delivery on off-stump.
Mohammad Irfan (14) was bowled by Duminy and Shafiq was stumped by De Villiers after a wild slog off a Duminy delivery.
Pakistan-born Tahir, who was recalled to the side after almost a year out, finished with match figures of eight for 130.
“Tahir played a big role for us, I know coming back after Adelaide there was a lot of pressure on him,” Smith said.
Misbah said the test was lost on the opening day when his side were skittled for 99 on a pitch that had runs in it.
“We should have scored at least 200 plus, then it might have been a different story,” the Pakistan captain said.
AB de Villiers was named man of the series after scoring 273 runs at an average of 91.
The teams will play a five-match one-day international series starting on Wednesday, followed by two Twenty20 games.