Hamza, de Bruyn solidify South Africa's strong position




Pakistan struck two quick blows after a century stand between Markram and Amla.

Pakistan struck two quick blows after a century stand between Markram and Amla. © AFP

Despite losing the wicket of Hashim Amla (41) and Aiden Markram (90), South Africa marched along as they cemented their strong position during the second session of the third Test against Pakistan. At Tea, the visitors had reached 226 for 3.

South Africa started the second session well placed at 108 for 1. Markram continued to play with carefree freedom after the break, capsulised by the stunning drive on the rise off Hasan Ali in the 29th over. Amla joined in the act, crunching Hasan for three fours in a single over.

Just when Markram looked set to notch up a massive score, he was dismissed via strangle down the leg side. On expected lines, the opener was gutted. Amla, too, didn’t last long caught at slip off Shadab Khan. The No.3 batsman tried to cut a delivery that bounced extra and could only edge it to Asad Shafiq who pouched a sharp catch.

Zubayr Hamza, the Test debutant, who averages close to 50 in first-class cricket, then took over by playing with aggressive intent. The duo of Hamza and Theunis de Bruyn also took advantage of some ordinary bowling by Hasan and to a lesser extent Shadab Khan. The Pakistan pair bowled a string of short and wide deliveries and were duly punished.

Earlier, after the home team elected to bat, Mohammad Abbas struck early by dislodging the stand in captain Dean Elgar. In his very first over of the day, he bowled one in the corridor of off stump and extracted seam movement to produce the edge. However, after the early jolt, Amla and Markram joined forces to put the hosts back on track.

On a wicket that is on the slower side, Makram showcased his penchant for driving by cracking a slew of shots. The highlight of Markram’s eye-catching exhibition of strokeplay was when he caressed an immaculate drive in the 23rd over that scurried away to the fence. Even after the home side went past the 100-run mark, Markram continued to put on an exhibition. Amla, who has been struggling for form in recent times, also looked in good touch.

After picking up the early wicket, Pakistan’s pacers have struggled for discipline. Meanwhile, de Bruyn and Hamza will look to stitch a stand of substance and put Pakistan under more pressure.

Brief scores: South Africa 226/3 (Aiden Markram 90; Shadab Khan 1-39) vs Pakistan.

© Cricbuzz


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