Pakistan in South Africa, 3 Test Series, 2018/19
Venue: The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Date: 11 January-15 January, 2019
RR: 4.16 | Pakistan need 108 runs to win
Before the collapse happened, we witnessed a few stands with the century partnership between Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla being the best. Debutant Zubayr Hamza also showed good promise in his knock while de Bruyn was another batsman to get a start. At one stage, they were cruising and the hosts seemed destined to post a big first innings total but then they completely lost the plot and fell apart. Pakistan's bowling was very ordinary in the first two sessions but then led by Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas, they managed to run through the South African middle order. Faheem Ashraf with a 3-fer also had a good outing. Stay tuned for Pakistan's reply.
A mega-collapse courtesy some exceptional reverse swing bowling by Pakistan. They were looking down and out after the first two sessions but then made a resounding comeback. It all started with the wicket of Theunis de Bruyn and then it was a procession. The African lower half failed to stand up and they got bundled out well under 300.
Duanne Olivier is the last man in for South Africa.
Drinks break. Pakistan continue to dominate proceedings post Tea and the reverse swing has reversed their fortunes for good. South Africa are reeling now and need their lower order to partner Quinton de Kock if they want to get past the 300-run mark.
Kagiso Rabada is the next man in for South Africa.
A huge appeal for an LBW has been turned down. Pakistan have reviewed it. Philander is the man in question. Seems to be slipping down leg.
Hasan Ali is on.
Amir is now seen walking off the field. Faheem Ashraf will complete his over. Not good this for Pakistan, he was amidst a brilliant spell. They will hope it is not serious.
Vernon Philander is the next man in for the Proteas.
Quinton de Kock is out to bat.
Temba Bavuma is the next man in for the Proteas.
Mohammad Amir to bowl from the other end.
Review time! A screaming appeal by Abbas for an lbw. Not entertained. Sarfraz is convinced and takes the DRS. Looks a bit high. Let's wait and watch...
The players are out in the middle. Zubayr Hamza will take the strike. Mohammad Abbas will start the proceedings after Tea.
.... Day 1, Session 3 ....
Theunis de Bruyn in the company of debutant Zubayr Hamza has taken the Protea score beyond the 200-run mark and the pair is amidst a 72-run partnership. It has come in a quick time as well. Pakistan were very poor since the fall of Amla's wickets as they conceded runs at a brisk rate. They will have to come back strongly in the last session otherwise the home team will run away with the show. Do join us in a short while.
Another fine session of Test cricket! South Africa were pegged back early when Aiden Markram was strangled down the leg side but then Hashim Amla and Theunis de Bruyn formed an alliance for a short period. Once the former got dismissed after a superb catch by Asad Shafiq, Pakistan would have sensed an opportunity to get an upper hand on this Test match. But that was not meant to be.
Asad Shafiq is on now.
Hasan Ali is back for another spell.
Huge shout for an lbw! The umpire turns it down and Sarfraz Ahmed goes for the DRS after having a little chat with his bowler. Let's see....
Debutant's time to rock now! It's Zubayr Hamza in next.
Theunis de Bruyn is looking very good and confident. It can be observed from the fact that he played two different types of shots to an identical delivery. One full ball outside off he tried to whip across the line while drove through the line when fed a similar ball again. Drinks time! Pakistan have picked up a wicket of Aiden Markram in the last hour but will have to build on it. Yet another partnership is blossoming now.
Mohammad Amir is back on.
Theunis de Bruyn is in next.
Faheem Ashraf is back on.
Welcome back. The afternoon session is about to begin. The men concerned are out in the centre. Hasan Ali will bowl the first over after Lunch.
... DAY 1, SECOND SESSION ...
Fabulous session for South Africa. They have scored in excess of 100 for the loss of just one wicket. Dean Elgar chose to bat but he himself didn't last long. Post that, the pair of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram joined forces and it's been easy going for the Proteas. There was some initial help from the surface but the Pakistani bowlers weren't hitting the right areas. Also, the pace of their speedsters was quite down to trouble the batsmen, especially on a pitch which ain't offering excessive movement. Markram has shown extraordinary form so far and will be eyeing a big score. Amla has taken his time but he too will like to get a big score under his belt. So far, Pakistan have looked clueless and it will be interesting to find out how they respond post Lunch. Do join us in a short while.
Mohammad Abbas is back for one final burst before Lunch.
Time for some leg spin! Shadab Khan has been introduced into the attack. A slip in place.
Mohammad Amir loses his footings and pulls out of his delivery stride at the last moment. Scratches the popping crease before heading back to his bowling mark.
Aiden Markram pulls out at the last second. Maybe, some sightscreen issue. Amir will have to reload.
Drinks break. Done with the first hour of this Test match and South Africa have already moved to 54 for the loss of Dean Elgar's wicket. Apart from that moment in the second over, the Protea batsmen have looked at ease, especially Aiden Markram. He has raced to 39 and is batting with a strike rate of 75 at the moment. Hashim Amla has been more watchful though. For Pakistan, their pacers have been largely ineffective as they have not hit the right areas consistently. They need pull up their socks quickly and get it right in the next hour.
Faheem Ashraf is introduced into the attack.
Hasan Ali has the ball in his hand.
Hashim Amla walks in next at number 3.
Mohammad Abbas to operate from the other end.
Time to get underway! The players are on the field. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram (who passed his fitness test) are the Protea openers. Mohammad Amir to kick off proceedings with the new cherry. All set, here we go...
A milestone for the 23-year old Zubayr Hamza. He becomes the 100th Test player for South Africa since readmission. He's a very promising young batsman who averages a shade above 49 in the First Class cricket.
Toss - Dean Elgar wins the toss and SOUTH AFRICA WILL BAT! As expected, Zubayr Hamza takes Faf du Plessis' place in the playing XI while the rest of the team remains the same. Pakistan, on the other hand, have made as many as three changes. Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali come in for Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi and Fakhar Zaman.
Welcome one and all for the third Test match between South Africa and Pakistan in Johannesburg. The hosts only took 6 days and around 30 minutes to take an unassailable lead in the series and now it's time to talk about playing for pride for the visiting team. The weakness in their batting is quite evident while their bowlers didn't perform to full potential in the last game. Will they take inspiration from their Asian rival's performance in Australia and avoid a whitewash? Only time will tell. For South Africa, Faf du Plessis will be missing as he's serving a one-match ban and Dean Elgar will be leading the hosts in his absence. It's unlikely there will be any other change for them. Stay tuned for more updates...
Pakistan Team Squad -Asad Shafiq,Azhar Ali,Babar Azam,Fakhar Zaman,Imam-ul-Haq,Shan Masood,Faheem Ashraf,Shadab Khan,Mohammad Rizwan,Sarfraz Ahmed,Hasan Ali,Mohammad Abbas,Mohammad Amir,Shaheen Afridi,Yasir Shah
South Africa Team Squad -Aiden Markram,Dean Elgar,Hashim Amla,Pieter Malan,Temba Bavuma,Theunis de Bruyn,Zubayr Hamza,Vernon Philander,Quinton de Kock,Dale Steyn,Dane Paterson,Duanne Olivier,Kagiso Rabada,Keshav Maharaj
After promising so much in the warm-up game where they beat the Cricket South Africa Invitation XI, the touring Pakistan side has just fallen apart quite dramatically and lost both Tests in 4 days or under. No doubt that the tour was going to be a tough one but the way the Pakistan team batting has capitulated is worrying not only for Mickey Arthur but also all the fans back home. It has been a pattern since the Test series against New Zealand in the UAE. And by their captain Sarfraz Ahmed's own admission, their bowling became worse in the 2nd Test. The hosts have had it too easy so far but they also have a few problems of their own coming into this Test. Their skipper, Faf du Plessis has been ruled out of the match at the Bullring, because of a second offence of slow over rate in the previous game. The lack of a spinner could have been the reason for the same. While that is a loss, the fact is that they have won the series and this being a dead rubber, so they shouldn't worry too much. Dean Elgar has been named stand-in captain. His opening partner, Aiden Markram also had a slight niggle and will undergo a late medical to prove his fitness for the game. This game could also see a certain 23-year old Zubayr Hamza getting a debut replacing the original skipper in the middle order. With the series already decided, it will be interesting to see whether the Protea can whitewash the Pakistan team, unlike their more illustrious, number one ranked neighbors who beat them at this very ground last year or will the visitors salvage some pride. Should be a good watch, but I still do not expect this one to go the distance either considering the vulnerable batting line-ups.