Ai­den on song in the Bull­ring

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Front Page - Mahlatse Mphahlele

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.

Pho­to­graph: GALLO IM­AGES

STAND­ING TALL 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

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