By BV Swagath
Pakistan fought back hard after losing three cheap wickets to end the dramatic third day’s play at 100 for 3 in 44 overs. The visitors hold the advantage now with an overall lead of 112 runs with 7 wickets in hand. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is batting on 36 (from 81 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes) in the company of no.3 Azhar Ali, who is on 45* (from 134 balls with 6 fours). The Pakistanis have seen through the new ball threat and batting has become a lot easier with the ball becoming soft.
Just the one wicket fell in the final session that of Younis Khan (14), who was bowled after inside edging a cut shot off Steyn onto his off stump to leave Pakistan at 45 for 3. There were no further inroads for the Proteas after that as Pakistan crawled back into the game. The pressure will be on the Proteas to skittle out Pakistan as early as possible on the fourth day so that they don’t have to chase a big target against a bowling attack led by Saeed Ajmal.
Tea Update: The second Test at Newlands has got into a fast forward mode in the afternoon session on Day 3 with Pakistan losing its openers cheaply having collected only a slender lead of 12 runs. At Tea, Pakistan are 25 for 2 in 8 testing overs from the South Africans. Mohammad Hafeez departed in the second ball of the innings lbw to a full length inswinger from Steyn while Nasir Jamshed was lbw to a length ball that darted back from Philander.
Earlier in the session, Robin Peterson came up with a career best knock of 84 from 106 balls with 15 fours to help South Africa post 326 on the board. This was only a second fifty for the left-arm spinner who got good support from Vernon Philander (22) to put up a crucial partnership of 67 runs for the 8th wicket. Mohammad Irfan wrapped up the South African innings taking three wickets while Saeed Ajmal finished with figures of 42-9-96-6.
Lunch Update: South Africa fought hard to reach 248 for 7 by lunch on Day 3 at Newlands to cut down their first innings deficit to 90 runs. Pakistan picked up the wickets of the two overnight batsmen – Dean Elgar (23, caught at slip after edging his booming drive off Ajmal to slip) and AB de Villiers (caught at mid on with a leading edge off Mohammad Irfan). The Proteas added 109 runs this morning thanks to de Villiers’ superb 61 (from 113 balls with 7 fours) and Robin Peterson (40* from 64 balls with 6 fours).
Pakistan had taken the second new ball as and when it was available.