Mohammad Rizwan marked a first century of testing as Pakistan set South Africa a formidable goal of 370 to win the second and final test at Rawalpindi. In response, the tourist closed on the fourth day on 127 for one of them to put on an intriguing finale.
Rizwan was undefeated on 115 and hit brilliantly with the tail to help add 222 for the final five wickets as the home side were knocked out for 298 in their second innings, taking advantage of several strikes the visitor lost.
Aiden Markram (59 not released) and Rassie van der Dussen (48 not released) gave South Africa hope after adding 94 for the second wicket, showing the patience and diligence that will be needed on the last day if they want to win an unlikely victory.
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South Africa have made no more than 300 in the fourth inning to win a test since their remarkable 414 for four against Australia in Perth in 2008, while Pakistan’s most successful pursuit ever is 315 for nine at home, against Australia, in 1994.
The only wicket to drop was opener Dean Elgar (17), who edged doorman Rizwan in pursuit of a large delivery from seamstress Shaheen Afridi.
But the ground is still good for the bat and has yet to show a stupendous turn for the spinners, leaving South Africa with a sniffle on day five.
He would have chased a lot less if they hadn’t lost several catches, including off Rizwan when he was on four.
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Instead, the latter was the anchor for Pakistan’s second rounds as he picked up on day four on 129 for six. He lost Hasan Ali (5) early, lbw to Keshav Maharaj (3-118), before Rizwan put 53 with Yasir Shah (23) and 97 for the ninth wicket with Nauman Ali (45).
The innings were over when left arm spinner George Linde (5-64) played Shaheen (4) for his first five-wicket test, a remarkable effort given a horrific little finger injury to his bowling hand on the day of the opening.