Pakistan’s cricket team has battled back in dramatic fashion to bundle South Africa out for 262 in their first innings — on day one of the third and final Test match at the Wanderers.
The Proteas were cruising on 226 for three at tea-time but the visitors’ bowlers took seven wickets for the addition of just 33 runs — South Africa’s lowest ever total for the the last seven wickets.
The Proteas also made in roads into Pakistan’s top order before stumps — as they ended the day on 17 for the loss of two wickets — still trailing by 245 runs.
Vernon Philander removed Shan Masood for two runs and then had Azhar Ali out first ball to bring to nine the number of wickets in a dramatic final session on what was supposed to be a docile wicket at the Wanderers.South Africa, with a foundation of 90 runs from Aiden Markram and handy contributions from Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn and debutant Zubayr Hamza, were 226-3 at tea but collapsed after and lost seven wickets for a paltry 33 runs as Pakistan’s bowlers found reverse swing to seize the initiative.
But hopes of then capping a fine comeback with a solid start to their innings was spoilt by Philander.
Faheem Ashraf, one of three changes to the Pakistan side after losing the first two tests, took 3-57 as South Africa crumbled after tea.
The hosts were 132-1 as Markram and Amla put together a 126-run partnership in an attacking start after stand-in skipper Dean Elgar had won the toss and elected to bat.
Markram’s availability was only confirmed after a late fitness test but he showed no signs of discomfort from a thigh injury as he rushed to 78 not out at lunch. He looked set for a fifth test century before getting a slight touch to Faheem Ashraf’s wayward leg-side delivery and being snagged behind.
Amla provided solid back-up and looked to be set for a big score himself before he was out for 41.
De Bruyn, needing a good innings to keep his place in the team, was on 48 at tea but added just one run before his departure set off the avalanche of wickets with Hamza, after looking confident on debut, getting a small nick behind for 41.
Then followed a steady processions of wickets before Pakistan came out to bat with 30 minutes left in the day.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq (10) and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas, who survived 13 balls without scoring, will resume on Saturday. – Additional reporting by Reuters