JOHANNESBURG: Fiery fast bowler Duanne Olivier took key early wickets as South Africa wrapped up a clean sweep of their series against Pakistan with a victory by 107 runs on the fourth day of the third and final test on Monday.
Pakistan resumed their second innings needing a further 228 for victory with seven wickets in hand, but their chances faded when Olivier removed the dangerous Babar Azam (21) and captain Sarfraz Ahmed (0) in consecutive balls.
The home side chipped away at the wickets to bowl the visitors out for 273, with Olivier (3-74) and Kagiso Rabada (3-75) the pick of a hostile South African attack that has been key to the team’s success.
The teams begin a five-match one-day international series on Saturday with the first game in Port Elizabeth. They will also play three Twenty20 matches.
“I’m extremely proud, a 3-0 series win is just what we asked the guys for,” stand-in South Africa captain Dean Elgar said at the post-match presentation.
“It’s a good way to start the year, we have set our goals and are halfway there with one more test series against Sri Lanka to come.”
“Our fast bowlers know what they want to do, which makes your life easier as a captain. They have worked out their game-plans and know how to execute,” he added.
Olivier was asked to open the bowling on the fourth morning and took his wicket tally in the series to 24 with two quick scalps.
The pace and bounce proved too much for Azam, who could only fend a vicious delivery to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Pakistan’s in-form captain Sarfraz was bowled the very next ball, a double-strike that appeared to take the fight out of the visitors.
Faheem Ashraf (15) and Mohammad Amir (4) both steered Rabada deliveries to Aiden Markram at gulley, while Hasan Ali (22) became the latter’s third victim when he was caught and bowled.
Shadab Khan (47 not out) was impressive as he took the attack to the South Africans with some excellent stroke-play, but was denied a fourth test half-century when number 11 Mohammad Abbas (9) was run-out trying to pinch a quick single.
Olivier’s tally over the three games, the second highest by a South African in a three-match series, is just one behind record-holder Buck Llewellyn, who took 25 wickets against Australia in 1902.
“We were in a nice position after the first day (having bowled South Africa out for 262), but could not capitalise on that with our batting,” Sarfraz said.
“Their bowlers played really well and are very difficult on these wickets. Well done to them.
“Shan Masood played really well (with the bat) and Babar showed his class. Shan and Babar were the positives (from the series).”
South Africa won the first two tests by six and nine wickets respectively, their seam attack leading the charge to victory on wickets that Pakistan’s vulnerable batting line-up found too spicy for their liking.