South Africa cement strong position despite fluffing chances

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SOUTH AFRICA VS PAKISTAN, 2018-19

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South Africa have picked up five wickets and still have a lead of 151 runs

South Africa have picked up five wickets and still have a lead of 151 runs © Getty

Day 2 of the third and final Test between South Africa and Pakistan turned out to be an action-packed one as fortunes fluctuated for both sides throughout. String of dropped catches, wickets taken and a few eye-catching shots. However, despite putting down four catches, South Africa were able to make further inroads as Pakistan ended the first session at 111 for 5, still trailing by 177.

At the start of the day, South Africa would have hoped to make initial incisions. However, it didn’t go according to plan. In the 16th over, one of South Africa’s better slip fielders, Temba Bavuma, put down a simple chance in the slip cordon to give Mohammad Abbas a reprieve. It got worse for the home side, as in the very next over, Theunis de Bruyn fluffed one at second slip with Imam ul Haq getting a reprieve and Steyn being the unlucky bowler.

To rub salt into South Africa’s wounds, Imam flicked a couple of deliveries into the fence in the very next over bowled by Kagiso Rabada. There was more misery in store for Steyn and South Africa, as Abbas eked out yet another edge only for Quinton de Kock to dive in front of Amla at first slip and put down the third chance of the morning.

The misery piled on when the athletic de Kock dived full length for the second time in front of Amla as another chance went begging in the 24th over, with Imam being the lucky batsman once again. South Africa’s horror show in the field can be capsulised by the fact that on the same delivery when Imam was given a reprieve, Abbas could have been run out at the other end.

Eventually, South Africa’s pacers were rewarded for their hard toil when Duanne Olivier, the fourth pacer in the attack, induced Abbas to edge one to de Bruyn, and this time he didn’t make a mistake, pouching the catch safely. Olivier continued to trouble Pakistan’s batsmen as he banged one short to remove Shafiq.

With a few minutes to go for the break, Imam, who lived a charmed life, was sent back to the pavilion by Philander. The day brightened up further for the home team when Steyn returned to the field and bowled a few overs after clutching his shoulder earlier.

From Pakistan’s perspective, amidst wickets falling at the other end, Babar Azam gave a glimpse of his skills as he finished the session unbeaten on a 39-ball 41.

Brief scores: South Africa 262 (Aiden Markram 90; Faheem Ashraf 3-57) lead Pakistan 111/5 (Babar Azam 41*; Vernon Philander 3-25) by 151 runs

© Cricbuzz

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