Cen­tury puts South Africa on road to white­wash

Whanganui Chronicle - - Sport -

Quin­ton de Kock made a free-flow­ing cen­tury at No 7 and equalled his ca­reer-best score as South Africa turned the screws on Pak­istan by set­ting the tourists 381 to win the fi­nal test and avoid a se­ries white­wash.

Pak­istan’s bats­men re­sponded with signs of the fight that’s been miss­ing for most of a one-sided se­ries so far, reach­ing 153/3 at stumps on the third day of the fast-mov­ing third test. That re­duced the equa­tion to 228 more runs needed with seven wick­ets in hand.

Asad Shafiq was 48 not out off 47 balls and ap­proach­ing the daunt­ing chal­lenge with an at­tack­ing mind­set.

Babar Azam, one of Pak­istan’s best bats­men this se­ries, was set­tling in on 17 not out.

The scale of the chal­lenge Pak­istan is still sig­nif­i­cant.

The tourists need to make the sec­ond-high­est fourth-in­nings score ever at the Wan­der­ers in Jo­han­nes­burg to avoid los­ing the se­ries 3-0. There have only been three fourth-in­nings to­tals of 300 or higher in more than 60 years of test cricket at the Wan­der­ers. South Africa hold the record with their 450/7 against In­dia in De­cem­ber 2013 and Pak­istan’s would be the next best score should they chase suc­cess­fully.

Sur­viv­ing for a draw is an un­likely propo­si­tion. It’s all or noth­ing for Pak­istan.

Open­ers Imam-ul-Haq (35) and Shan Ma­sood (37) gave Pak­istan a

for pos­i­tive start with a 67-run part­ner­ship. Both fell to Dale Steyn in the space of four overs, though, a re­minder that wick­ets have fallen in clutches on a swing­ing and seam­ing pitch and Pak­istan are still a long way off vic­tory.

Duanne

Olivier

then

re­moved Azhar Ali with a brutish short ball that reared up at the bats­man’s head. Azhar gloved to wick­et­keeper de Kock to give Olivier, Pak­istan’s main de­stroyer, his 22nd wicket of the se­ries — surely enough for the man of the se­ries award.

Olivier’s re­turn is the sec­ond-best for a South African bowler ever in a three-test se­ries and three wick­ets off the record.

Ear­lier, de Kock hit 129 from just 138 balls with 18 fours and a six as he and Hashim Amla (71) put on 102 and dug South Africa out of trou­ble in their sec­ond in­nings.

De Kock ar­rived with South Africa on 93/5 and in a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion and de­parted at 302/8 with his team in com­plete con­trol. South Africa, who had re­sumed the day on 135/5, were even­tu­ally all out for 303.

The wick­et­keeper-bats­man looked as­sured through­out, save for a few ner­vous mo­ments when he was on 99 and couldn’t find the sin­gle he needed for his fourth test cen­tury and first in two years.

After a cou­ple of aborted runs with bat­ting part­ner Kag­iso Rabada, and one shot which hit Rabada and pre­vented runs, de Kock got one through for a boundary and was cel­e­brat­ing half­way down the pitch, on one knee and punch­ing the air.

Photo / AP

Quin­ton de Kock’s cen­tury at No 7 put the Proteas in a strong po­si­tion.

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