Proteas on the verge of clean sweep

STUN­NING: WICK­ET­KEEPER PRO­VIDES A MAS­TER­CLASS Shafiq, Babar give Pak­istan some hope at the Wan­der­ers.

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Ken Bor­land at the Wan­der­ers

Proteas wick­et­keeper/ bats­man Quin­ton de Kock was un­usu­ally emo­tional upon scor­ing his fourth Test cen­tury at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day, but as it turned out his bril­liant 129 was also a cru­cial in­nings as Pak­istan have seven wick­ets in hand and 228 runs to get on the fourth day of the third Test.

De Kock’s in­nings, which equalled his ca­reer-best score made against Eng­land at Cen­tu­rion in 2015/16, was a thrilling dis­play of stroke­play that came off just 138 de­liv­er­ies, with 18 fours and a six. It was his first cen­tury since his 101 against Sri Lanka at New­lands in Jan­uary 2017.

It lifted South Africa from 93/5 when he came in to 303 all out, leav­ing Pak­istan with a daunt­ing tar­get of 381 for vic­tory. De Kock shared a po­ten­tially match-win­ning sixth-wicket stand of 102 with Hashim Amla, who fought hard but also un­veiled sev­eral classy strokes in scor­ing 71.

Kag­iso Rabada (21) then hung around for an hour-and-a-half with De Kock as an­other 79 runs were added for the eighth wicket.

The tourists had reached 153/3 at stumps and Asad Shafiq was on a run-a-ball 48 not out.

“I was a bit pumped up as I haven’t scored a cen­tury in quite a while. It was frus­trat­ing be­cause you al­ways try your best for the team.

“They were an im­por­tant last cou­ple of part­ner­ships be­cause it looks like we needed those runs at the end of the day. It’s a good wicket now, it’s def­i­nitely got bet­ter. Hope­fully we can nick the Pak­istan batsmen off to­mor­row, but it will be quite tough be­cause the pitch is play­ing quite well and there are de­cent batsmen in the mix,” De Kock said.

Pak­istan started their chase half-an-hour be­fore tea and Imam-ul-Haq (35) and Shan Ma­sood (37) stretched their open­ing stand to 67 in 81 min­utes, their best of the se­ries.

But Dale Steyn’s lit­tle burst when he bowled su­perbly to the left-han­ders from around the wicket was just what stand-in cap­tain Dean El­gar would have wanted, with the cham­pion fast bowler hav­ing both open­ers caught be­hind to move up to tiedeighth on the all-time Test wicket-tak­ers’ list along­side Ran­gana Herath and Stu­art Broad on 433 scalps. Just two more wick­ets to­day will move him past Kapil Dev into sixth place.

Duanne Olivier again dom­i­nated Azhar Ali with the short ball and had him caught be­hind for 15, his 22nd wicket of the se­ries and just four short of break­ing the 116-year-old South African record for a three-match se­ries set by Char­lie “Buck” Llewellyn.

Pak­istan had slipped to 104/3, but Shafiq and Babar Azam (17*) bossed the fi­nal 40 min­utes, set­ting up the se­ries for its most com­pet­i­tive fi­nal day.

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

TOP KNOCK. Proteas bats­man Quin­ton de Kock cel­e­brates after scor­ing his cen­tury dur­ing the third day of the third Test against Pak­istan at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day.

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