STUMPS: Proteas bowlers fight back, but bad batting, fielding put Pakistan in control
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s batting and later their fielding let them down on day three of the second Test against Pakistan on Saturday, as the home team took their lead to 200 when bad light stopped play.
At stumps, Pakistan were 128/6, with Mohammad Rizwan on 28 and Hasan Ali on nought. Given South Africa’s problems with the bat, 200 may well be enough already.
The Proteas bowlers fought brilliantly to get the tourists back into the game after another dismal effort from the batsmen. At on stage Pakistan were 76/5, their lead just 147 when the obdurate Fawad Alam was caught at short leg by Aiden Markram off the bowling of George Linde.
In the same over Linde found the outside edge of Faheem Asharaf’s bat, but a relatively simple chance was grassed by Dean Elgar at slip. A slightly harder chance came the way of Rassie van der Dussen a few balls later in an over from Keshav Maharaj, with Rizwan, inside edging a delivery onto his pads, but the ball flew quickly passed Van der Dussen at silly mid-off.
Given the circumstances the Proteas find themselves in even such difficult chances need to be taken. And the Pakistanis took advantage, Rizwan was aggressive with his running between the wickets, while he took a couple of chances as well to search out the boundary.
Together the pair shared a stand of 52 runs for the sixth wicket before Faheem smashed Linde to Anrich Nortje at backward point after making 29.
Kagiso Rabada had dismissed Imran Butt in a fiery first spell after South Africa produced another terrible effort with the bat to be dismissed for 201.
South Africa’s spinners then struck regular blows, with Maharaj claiming the wickets of Abid Ali and then Babar Azam - the third time Maharaj has dismissed the latter in this series.
Linde, feeling a lot more comfortable after being struck on his bowling hand by Babar on the first day, dismissed Azhar Ali and then Fawad, to provide a route back into the game for the visitors, but it was one they were unable to take as they missed those chances.
South Africa’s batting woes continued, as they gave Pakistan a 71-run first innings lead.
The South African top order seemed to be caught between two strategies on Friday when they started batting, wanting to attack the new ball, before the spinners came onto bowl. It proved costly, with SA four down within 30 overs.
Then on Saturday, having lost Quinton de Kock, in the third over of the day, they then got a partnership going between Wiaan Mulder and Temba Bavuma, but the former ran himself out going for a second run. It was poor thinking on young Mulder’s part, especially as he’d played so well against both pace and spin.
Mulder made 33, and his partnership with Bavuma was worth 50, but once he was dismissed, Pakistan ran through the tail rapidly.
Bavuma ended not out on 44, another efficient effort, but there will rightly be question marks about how he bats with the tail.
Rabada joined Mulder in being run out, bringing to four the number of batsmen, South Africa have lost to run outs in this series - the most suffered by a South African side since 2005, when they faced England in a five match series.
Hasan Ali picked up the second ‘five-for’ of his career, making excellent use of reverse swing to bamboozle the tourists. Hasan finished with 5/54 from 15.4 overs.