JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s batsmen dug in on the third afternoon of the first Test against Pakistan on Thursday, absorbing pressure from the home side’s bowlers in a compelling session of play.
By tea, Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen had chipped away at Pakistan’s lead, with a patient partnership of 35 runs for the second wicket.
South Africa were 84/1 with Markram on 34 and Van der Dussen on 17. Pakistan’s lead is currently 74 runs.
Pakistan were bowled out for 378 an hour into the third day, taking a lead of 158, after some adventurous batting by the tail. Kagiso Rabada, claimed his 200th Test wicket when he bowled Hasan Ali, becoming the eighth South African to reach that landmark.
The only South African wicket to fall thus far in the touring team’s second innings was that of Dean Elgar, who copped a barrage from Shaheen Afridi after lunch.
Elgar was hit on the left hand by a delivery that reared off a good length. He required treatment from the South African physio, Craig Govender, which included an icepack to the damaged area - in the region of the knuckle above his little finger - and was administered cold spray.
That blow was clearly playing on his mind - one shot struck through point for four saw Elgar wincing in pain and on another occasion, he turned his back on a short ball, fortuitously hitting into the covers.
At the start of the subsequent over from Yasir Shah, Elgar tried to sweep out of the rough, but top edged the ball with Pakistan’s wicketkeeper, Mohammad Rizwan taking a good catch diving from behind the stumps. Elgar made 29, that included four boundaries.
Markram and Van der Dussen then absorbed everything that Shaheen and Yasir could throw at them, at one stage scoring just two runs in seven overs around the afternoon drinks session.
Markram did offer one chance on 27, when he edged Yasir to Babar Azam at slip, but the Pakistan captain grassed a difficult chance.
* Cricket SA confirmed that Elgar had been taken for X-Rays, and that an update on his injury would be provided later.