SA blow shot at big score

Proteas bowled out for 262 by Pakistan at Wanderers on first day of third Test

South African opening batsman Aiden Markram goes on the drive during his innings of 90 on the first day of the third cricket Test against Pakistan in Johannesburg on Friday
South African opening batsman Aiden Markram goes on the drive during his innings of 90 on the first day of the third cricket Test against Pakistan in Johannesburg on Friday
Image: Gallo Images

South Africa blew their opportunity to post a big score on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday on a good batting track as they were bowled out for 262 in 77.4 overs by Pakistan.

But it may turn out not to be too costly as fast bowler Vernon Philander rattled the Pakistani top order with successive wickets of Shan Masood (2) and Azhar Ali (0) in the closing stages to leave their visitors trailing by 245 runs with eight wickets in hand.

When umpires called stumps after 5.30pm to end the first day of the final Test, Pakistan were on 17/2 after nine overs with Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Abbas on 10 and 0 respectively.

In their debrief meeting, the Proteas will be disappointed that they missed a chance to go big and give their visitors scoreboard pressure as they lost seven wickets for 36 runs in the final session on this surface that produced good competition between bat and ball.

When the Proteas went to the tea break earlier in the day, they were sitting on a comfortable position of 226/3 but the Pakistani bowlers upped the tempo in the final session with seven wickets.

In the first session, SA scored 108 runs for the only loss of stand-in captain Dean Elgar (5) from the bowling of Muhammad Abbas, while Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla followed after lunch, but they were still in control.

In the first two sessions where SA dominated proceedings, Elgar, who is the stand-in captain in the absence of suspended Faf du Plessis, disappointed with a low score of just five runs, but Markram stood tall with a knock of 90.

His efforts included 19 boundaries, but unfortunately he fell for what also turned out to be his third dismissal while batting in the nineties. Amla was not too far away from clocking his 41st half-century and they combined for a solid partnership of 126.

SA lost momentum in the third session as they lost wickets regularly, but there were some impressive performances by debutant Zubayr Hamza (41) and Theunis de Bruyn (49), who put together a good partnership of 75.

The other wickets to fall in the final session were Temba Bavuma (8), Vernon Philander (1), Kagiso Rabada (0), Quinton de Kock (18) and Duanne Olivier (0).

The destroyer-in-chief for Pakistan with ball in hand was Faheem Ashraf with three scalps, while Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali took two apiece and Shadab Khan one.

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