JOHANNESBURG – Despite picking up two wickets in the session, Pakistan’s poor discipline with the ball allowed South Africa to continue to dominate the first day of the final Test at the Wanderers on Friday.
By tea, the Proteas had reached 226/3, scoring at a rate close to four an over.
Pakistan let themselves down after dismissing Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla, allowing the under pressure Theunis de Bruyn and the debutant Zubayr Hamza off the hook with some desperately poor bowling, with their lengths on many occasions shocking.
At the break, the pair had added 72 runs for the fourth wicket, with De Bruyn, who’s been in poor form in this series, on 48 and Hamza on 38.
Earlier, Markram’s dreamy knock came to an end in agonising fashion when he was caught down the leg side by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed after making 90.
It was the most dominant innings by a South African player thus far in the series.
Markram was dropped at short leg by Shan Masood off Mohammad Amir when he had two, but thereafter, he unveiled the full array of his talent in a nearly two-and-a-half-hour stay at the crease.
His cover driving was out of the top draw – crisp, elegant and precise.
For all the world he looked set for his fourth Test hundred, until flicking at Faheem Ashraf in the seventh over after lunch.
Markram faced 124 balls and hit 16 boundaries.
That wicket ended a partnership of 126 for the second wicket with Amla, who was dismissed eight overs later for 42, attempting to cut the leg-spinner Shadab Khan, but only managing to deposit the ball into the hands of Asad Shafiq at slip.
Pakistan failed to walk through the door, however. They bowled too many long hops, allowing De Bruyn and Hamza to get away, and by tea, they were well on the back foot once more.@shockerhess