Action-packed day sees South Africa take control

Wickets and runs were again the order of the day as South Africa seized control of the proceedings at stumps on Day 3 of the Wanderers Test versus Pakistan. The hosts were 212 runs in front with five wickets still in hand at close of play.

After bundling out Pakistan for just 185, the hosts would have hoped to build a healthy lead without losing too many wickets up front. However, Pakistan’s pacers continued to bowl with unremitting control and discipline to cause a few flutters in the South African camp.

Dean Elgar, the stand in captain, was the first one to fall, dislodged by Mohammad Amir. Initially, the appeal for caught behind was turned down, but Pakistan got it reversed via a review. Mohammad Abbas then tempted Aiden Markram to edge one behind with Sarfraz Ahmed grabbing a sharp catch.

Zubayr Hamza and de Bruyn didn’t last long and at 45 for 4, Pakistan seemed to have found a way back. At that crucial stage, Hashim Amla (41*), who has been battling for form, and Temba Bavuma joined forces to wade through the tough phase. The duo also played the occasional cut and drive to keep the scorecard ticking over.

For a while, Pakistan looked flat but Shadab Khan lifted the home side to an extent by sending Bavuma back to the hut. Quinton de Kock (34*) and Amla then safely guided South Africa to the stumps. It has been a gritty innings so far from Amla.

The first two sessions too had its fair share of thrills and spills. At the start of the day, South Africa would have hoped to make initial incisions. However, it didn’t go according to plan as they fluffed a slew of chances. In the 16th over, Temba Bavuma, put down a simple chance in the slip cordon to give Mohammad Abbas a reprieve. It got worse for the home side, as in the very next over, Theunis de Bruyn fluffed one at second slip with Imam ul Haq getting a reprieve and Steyn being the unlucky bowler.

There was more misery in store for Steyn and South Africa, as Abbas eked out yet another edge only for de Kock to dive in front of Amla at first slip and put down the third chance of the morning. The misery piled on when the athletic de Kock dived full length for the second time in front of Amla as another chance went begging in the 24th over, with Imam being the lucky batsman once again.

Eventually, South Africa’s pacers were rewarded for their hard toil when Olivier took the scalps of Abbas and Asad Shafiq. After the break, Pakistan’s duo of Sarfraz Ahmed (50) and Babar Azam came out with a plan to counterattack and succeeded for a while. It was Sarfraz who led from the front, playing an array of shots – he punched, drove, cut and flicked to the boundary hoardings.

Babar too looked in good nick as the pair strung together a stand of 78 in just over 10 overs. Eventually, Kagiso Rabada, the spearhead, provided the breakthrough by dismissing Safraz. Olivier, who has reigned supreme through the course of the series, then removed Babar. The pair soon provided the finishing touches to snuff out the home side for a modest total. Olivier also finished with another five-wicket haul for the series and now has a rich haul of 21 wickets in the rubber so far.

Brief scores: South Africa 262 and 135/5 (Hashim Amla 42*, Quinton de Kock 34*; Faheem Ashraf 2-19) lead Pakistan 185 (Sarfraz Ahmed 50; Duanne Olivier 5-51) by 212 runs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *