Twitter Reactions: South Africa squanders advantage after a resilient day

Twitter Reactions: South Africa squanders advantage after a resilient day

After a rather dramatic half an hour’s play, South Africa finished 29 runs ahead with four wickets down.

Pakistan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

As arrived a new day, the see-saw battle between South Africa and Pakistan took a new turn. Regardless of who ends up winning this ever-swinging battle, the unraveling of this Test has been a sight as exciting and stimulating as any. South Africa could not have made a start more abject after being wholesomely grilled by Fawad Alam on day two, as Pakistan’s tail wagged long enough to rub more salt in their wounds.

Pakistan started the day leading with 88 runs and two wickets left in the bank. When Kagiso Rabada knocked over Hasan Ali’s stumps in the second over of the day – doing which he became the fourth-youngest and the third-fastest to 200 Test wickets – it seemed that Pakistan would finish with a handful lead but nothing too outrageous. Although, a 55-run partnership between Nauman Ali and Yasir Shah daggered deeper into South Africa’s troubles, swelling the overall lead to 158.

Pakistan’s tail frustrates the visitors

The Proteas’ quick looked palpably answerless in front of the last batting pair of Pakistan that batted calmly and ensured to settle themselves in. Shah drove Rabada for a four in the covers before picking another boundary through an impressive cut off the pacer as the duo took their scoring rate nearly run-a-ball.

With none of his quicks being able to generate a wicket-taking opportunity, the skipper Quinton de Kock turned to Keshav Maharaj. The duo initially looked comfortable against him as Shah even deposited him over long-on for a six to take Pakistan’s lead past 150. However, the spinner finally trapped Nauman lbw to end Pakistan’s response on 378.

South Africa had a tricky hour of play to face before heading into lunch, and Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram were solid and cautious in their approach. There was no panic even as runs dried, and both the batsmen went into a shell against Shaheen Afridi’s express pace and testing lengths. Afridi thought that he had his man when he shouted for lbw against Markram, although the batsman got it overturned on review.

South Africa grinds

Resuming after 37 for none post-lunch, skipper Babar Azam resorted to two of his most potent options in Shah and Afridi. Even as the Elgar and Markram maneuvered the wobbly bounce, a nasty delivery flew from a length to ram right into the former’s glove, to leave him in excruciating pain.

Elgar resumed after some medical attention, though he looked in visible discomfort during his remaining stay. His struggle finally came to an end courtesy of a stunning catch by Mohammad Rizwan after the batsman tried to sweep Yasir Shah, only to lob it up after hitting it on his pads.

The new man in Rassie van der Dussen showed immense doggedness alongside Markram, and though Yasir Shah kept exploiting heaps of turns from a rough created around the legs, Dussen and Markram were content in padding the balls and leaving them aside without trying anything to score.

Guilty of trying too many things to no real effect during a short spell in the first session, Hasan Ali ensured that he brought back the lost control in his bowling, apart from exploiting a hint of reverse swing with the old ball. However, that did not lead to any chance for him or Pakistan as South Africa went further unscathed to Tea at 83/1, having added only 47 runs in the entire session at the loss of one wicket.

Twist towards the end 

At the start of the day’s play, even South Africa would have laughed off the possibility of them surpassing Pakistan’s first-innings lead at the loss of just a solitary wicket, although planting their feet deep, both Markram and Dussen notched up their half-centuries and wiped off the deficit through their incredibly resolute 310-ball 127-run stand for the second wicket.

The bowlers, who labored all the day without getting any breakthroughs, finally turned the day on its head as Dussen’s defensive prod off Shah managed to travel towards Abid Ali at a silly point.

Shah struck soon, this time to trap Faf du Plessis lbw, before Nauman Ali’s length delivery caught Markram by surprise. Markram came forward to defend, but the extra bounce led the ball to hit the bat awkwardly, and Abid Ali at a silly point got another catch for the taking. After a rather dramatic half an hour’s play, South Africa finished 29 runs ahead with four wickets down.

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