Proteas fluff opportunity for a big score but Philander leads emphatic fightback

Fowler Vernon Philander (L) celebrates the dismissal of batsman Shan Masood (R) during the first day of the third Cricket Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg on January 11, 2019.
Fowler Vernon Philander (L) celebrates the dismissal of batsman Shan Masood (R) during the first day of the third Cricket Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg on January 11, 2019.
Image: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

South Africa blew a good opportunity to put up a big score on what was a good batting track as they were bowled out for 262 after 77.4 overs by Pakistan who came to life with ball in hand during the final session.

But, it may turn out not to be too costly as fast bowler Vernon Philander rattled the Pakistani top order with successive wickets of Shan Masood (2) and Azhar Ali (0) in the closing stages to leave their visitors trailing by 245 runs with eight wickets in hand.

When umpires called stumps after 5.30pm to end the first day of the third and final Test, Pakistan were on the ropes on 17/2 after nine overs with Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Abbas on 10 and 0 respectively.

In their debrief meeting, the Proteas will be disappointed that they missed a chance to go big and give their visitors scoreboard pressure as they lost seven wickets for 36 runs in the final session on this surface that produced good competition between bat and ball.

When the Proteas went to the tea break earlier in the day, they were sitting on a comfortable position of 226/3 but Pakistani bowlers upped the tempo in the final session with seven wickets.

In the first session, SA scored 108 runs for the only loss of stand-in captain Dean Elgar (5) from the bowling of Muhammad Abbas while Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla followed after lunch but they were still in control of the match.

In the first two sessions where SA dominated proceedings, Elgar, who is the stand-in captain in the absence of suspended Faf du Plessis, disappointed with low score of just five runs but Markram stood tall with a delightful knock of 90 runs 

Markram’s efforts included 19 boundaries but unfortunately he fell for what also turned out to be his third dismissal while batting in the nineties while Amla was not too far away from clocking his 41st half century and they combined for a solid partnership of 126.

The South Africans lost momentum in the third session as they lost wickets at regular intervals but there were some impressive performances by debutant Zubayr Hamza (41) and Theunis de Bruyn (49) who put together a good partnership of 75.

The other wickets to fall in the final session for Proteas were Temba Bavuma (8), Philander (1), Kagiso Rabada (0), Quinton de Kock (18) and Duanne Olivier (0) as Pakistan showed marked improvement.

The destroyer in chief for Pakistan with ball in hand was Faheem Ashraf with three scalps, while Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali took two apiece and Shadab Khan returned with just one.

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