Quinton de Kock’s fourth Test century was the highlight of the third afternoon’s play in the final Castle Lager Test as South Africa set Pakistan 381 to win here on Sunday.
The South Africans were bowled out for 303, 40 minutes before tea, with De Kock’s 129 the central act in a good batting performance by the home team.
Pakistan had reduced the target to 347 at the interval, with openers Imam ul-Haq (18*) and Shan Masood (19*) looking comfortable. Pakistan enjoyed their tea on 34 without loss.
De Kock had started his innings on Saturday evening, with South Africa 93/5 and Pakistan looking to make further in-roads into the home team’s batting order. But the precocious left-hander counter-attacked with some lovely drives and cuts and resumed in a similar manner on Sunday morning.
He shared a stand of 102 for the sixth wicket with Hashim Amla who made 71 and the found another resolute partner in Kagiso Rabada, who helped usher him to the three-figure mark.
The pair caused some angst for the Wanderers crowd in an over from Faheem Ashraf, with De Kock charging off for a single after a straight drive had hit Rabada on the boot at the non-strikers end. There was another close call later in the over, when the pair attempted a quick single, but off the last bowl of that over he drilled a straight drive passed mid-off to register his first Test century in two years.
His celebrations were a lot more animated than usual; a loud scream of ‘Yeaah!” accompanied by a leap and big fist pump, with Rabada on hand to give him a big hug.
He played a couple of thrilling shots thereafter but was eventually caught at deep backward square leg after equalling his highest Test score, an innings that lasted a little under four hours, saw him face 138 balls hit 18 fours and a six.
His partnership for the eighth wicket with Rabada was worth 79, with ‘KG’ eventually out for 21.
Ashraf and leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with three wickets apiece for the tourists.
Meanwhile skipper Sarfraz Ahmed completed his 10th dismissal of the match when he caught Duanne Olivier of Shadab, thereby establishing a new record for Pakistan in Tests, beating the previous mark jointly held by Rashid Latif (vs New Zealand in Auckland in 1994) and Kamran Akmal (vs West indies in Kingston in 2005) it was also the most dismissals by a captain in a Test, eclipsing MS Dhoni of India’s, nine against Australia at the MCG in 2014.