De Kock sets Pakistan huge task

Sports       by Web Desk | Published

Sports by Web Desk | Published

Earlier in the day, South Africa was bowled out for 262 after they failed to build on the superb foundation laid by opener Aiden Markram. South Africa also missed two run-out opportunities.

Amir said there was a meeting in the dressing room during the tea break.

The rest of the team should remain unchanged unless the selectors decide to rest one or two players and their bowlers may be candidates to make way with Keshav Maharaj available to come in but given the changes in the batting order and the dominance their pace bowlers have over Pakistan, they may go unchanged there. First Abbas was dropped by Temba Bavuma in the gully on 10, off the bowling of Philander. Faheem Ashraf was the most successful bowler with three dismissals to his name. "If given the chance, I am looking forward to it", he said.

Nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas (11) was also dropped twice off fairly simple chances to battle through the first hour and frustrate the home side, though South Africa's luck changed with two wickets in one Duanne Olivier (2-20) over.

It got a bit better after that, and things actually seemed to be going to plan for South Africa when Markram cracked 14 fours before lunch to bring up the team 100 on cruise control. South Africa may yet win this game under Elgar's leadership, but such a result looked a long way off when he left the field with an audible f-bomb after being caught behind for 5 this morning. "It's important to respect the good balls but when there is a ball in your zone you need to be in a frame of mind to put it away". It was the third time in his 15-Test career that he had been dismissed in the nineties.

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"Our total is a bit under par but it did seem to be a bit more hard to bat on later on", said Markram.

De Kock looked assured throughout his innings, 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.

Hashim Amla (41) helped Markram put on 126 for the second wicket after stand-in captain Dean Elgar was caught behind off Mohammad Abbas for five in the second over.

In an innings studded with flowing strokes, De Kock reached his fifty off 49 balls and his century off 121 deliveries.

Clearly, Pakistan hadn't read it. Markram tickled one down the leg side to add another Test 90 to his 94 against India and his 97 against Bangladesh, putting him ahead of Virat Kohli in the Test 90s stakes, which is, one supposes, a sort of milestone too.

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