Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen’s valiant effort on day four has given South Africa an outside chance in Rawalpindi. After being given a target of 370, Dean Elgar started the proceedings pretty well with the bat as he dispatched Hasan Ali for four boundaries. He was eventually dismissed by Shaheen Shah Afridi. After that, it was the Markram-Dussen show as the duo added 94 runs for the second wicket and are still at the crease. The Proteas finish the day on 127-1 and will be looking to continue like this.
Hasan Ali has been expensive so far and went for 36 in his 5 overs. Yasir Shah and Shaheen Afridi bowled with control but weren’t able to make any in roads.
Earlier Pakistan posted 298 in their second innings on the back of a brilliant century from Muhammad Rizwan, his first in this format. The wicket-keeper batsmen scored 115 runs and remained not out. The Day 5 started with Pakistan leading by 200 runs and match pretty much in the balance. South Africa was hoping of dismissing the home side early but just like in Karachi, Pakistan’s tail came to the party and dented any hope of restricting Pakistan under 200.
Hasan Ali went early and was trapped by Maharaj in front of the stumps. At that stage, Pakistan had only added 14 runs to their overnight score. This was followed up by two magnificent partnerships of 53 and 97 runs for the eighth and ninth wicket respectively. The partnership between Yasir and Muhammad Rizwan was a steady one as the Proteas bowlers kept a lid on the scoring rate with immaculate lengths but it was a run-fest after the lunch as Nauman and Rizwan amassed 81 runs in 17 overs. At one stage they were going run a ball by scoring 55 runs in 10 overs.
Muhammad Rizwan was spectacular as he has been since his come back. He has scored runs whenever his team has needed them the most and this time it was no different. With Pakistan reduced to 63 for 4 in the last session of Day 3, there was a sense that the home team has let go of the advantage. South African bowlers sensed an opportunity and they were increasing pressure on Pakistani batters.
He wasn’t in total control in the start as he gave an opportunity which was dropped. But gained confidence after Faheem deflected pressure on the bowling side with his counter-attacking cricket. Rizwan scored 15 boundaries in total but his judgement of line and length against both spinners and faster men was brilliant.
The day 5 will start with all three results possible. South Africa still require 243 runs to win if they want to level the series while Pakistan are eyeing a first series win against them in 17 years.