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De Kock Century Gives South Africa Edge Over Pakistan at Wanderers

Cricketnext Staff |January 14, 2019, 9:53 AM IST
De Kock Century Gives South Africa Edge Over Pakistan at Wanderers

Quinton de Kock smashed his fourth Test century, his first in two years, before Dale Steyn struck twice in the final session to hand South Africa a slight advantage over Pakistan on the third day of the final Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday (January 13).

De Kock equalled his Test-best score of 129 before South Africa were bowled out for 303, setting Pakistan a target of 381 runs. In reply, Pakistan showed some fight and were 153 for 3 in 40 overs, still needing 228 runs to avoid a whitewash, with Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam unbeaten on 48 and 17 when the curtains were drawn.

Pakistan opening batsmen Imam-ul-Haq (35) and Shan Masood (37) both started confidently as they scored freely against Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, neither of whom was able to find the swing or seam movement that they generated in the first innings. The pair put on 67 runs but couldn't carry on and turn it into something substantial.

It was Dale Steyn who removed both the batsmen. Both Imam and Masood edged to the wicketkeeper as Steyn took his Test wicket tally to 433 - equalling with Rangana Herath and Stuart Broad. Things went from bad to worse for the visiting team when Duanne Olivier got rid of Azhar Ali for 15.

Shafiq and Azam didn't shy away from taking the attack to the South African bowlers. Both batsmen crafted some delightful shots through the offside against Kagiso Rabada and Olivier, and at one stage were scoring at a run rate of eight runs per over. However, once they got their eyes in, both Shafiq and Azam made sure Pakistan end day three without any more hiccups.

Earlier, resuming the day on 135 for 5, de Kock and Amla kept the scoreboard ticking with the former being the aggressor. The wicketkeeper-batsman arrived at the crease at 93 for 5, at which stage South Africa's lead was a modest 170. De Kock, however, kept playing his shots and batted with a strike rate of over 90. The two added 102 runs for the sixth wicket before Amla gloved one to the wicketkeeper when he was on 71. Vernon Philander (14) hit Hasan Ali for three fours but was pinned right in front of the stumps by Mohammad Amir.

De Kock found an able ally in Rabada (21) who was willing to spend time in the middle. The duo added 79 runs for the seventh wicket and in the process, completed his hundred with a drive straight down the ground. The 26-year-old went on his knees, had a fist pump right in the middle of the pitch, and then let out a vigorous roar as one could easily spot a sense of satisfaction in his eyes.

He was finally caught in the deep, trying for a second successive six off leg-spinner Shadab Khan, after facing 138 balls and smashing 18 fours and a six. The home team lost their final two wickets in no time, but by then they had enough runs on the board to once again choke Pakistan.

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2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
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5 India 7273 260
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