Pakistan, South Africa match hangs in balance

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Pakistan were 100 for three in their second innings at the close of play on the third day of the second test against South Africa at Newlands on Saturday.

With the lead now 112, the match is on knife’s edge. Pakistan made 338 in the first innings and then in the second innings are playing at 100 for three wickets with Azhar Ali 45 not out while South Africa was bowled out for 326.

Earlier, South Africa’s opening bowlers struck early again on the third day of the second test against Pakistan on Saturday by dismissing both opening batsmen without scoring in the visitors’ second innings.

At tea Pakistan were 25 for two, an overall lead of 37, after dismissing South Africa for 326 in their first innings.

Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed both succumbed lbw to Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander respectively, leaving Azhar Ali on 19 and Younus Khan on five the task of rebuilding the innings in the face of some top-quality swing bowling.

Earlier, Robin Peterson had powered South Africa to within 12 of Pakistan’s first innings total with his highest test score of 84 from 106 balls that included 15 fours. His only previous test half-century came against Bangladesh a decade ago.

The left-arm spinner has not had a great game with the ball, but showed his value as an all-rounder at number eight as he completely changed the momentum of the innings.

It was tough again early on for the batsman. AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar added 25 runs to South Africa’s overnight 139 for five before the latter became Saeed Ajmal’s sixth victim of the innings.

Left-hander Elgar (23) flashed at a tossed-up delivery that gripped on the surface and caught the edge, flying to Younus Khan at slip.

Peterson joined de Villiers at the crease and the pair stepped up the scoring rate, adding 46 for the seventh wicket in 11 overs with the former reaching his 32nd half-century before he became the first test wicket for Mohammad Irfan.

De Villiers (61) tried to place a leg-side delivery through mid-wicket, but was too early into the shot and spooned the ball to Umar Gul at mid-on.

Philander (22) batted for an hour with Peterson as they put on 67 in 14 overs before he received a well-directed bouncer from Irfan that reared up, caught a leading edge and looped to Nasir Jamshed at point.

Steyn (10) showed intent in his brief knock that came to an end when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Peterson was the last to go attempting to launch a six off part-time off-spinner Hafeez, but succeeding only in picking out Gul on the long-on boundary.

Ajmal finished with figures of six for 96 from 42 overs, while Irfan collected three for 86 in 21 overs in his debut test.