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South Africa Overhaul Small Target with Ease at Centurion to Take Series Lead

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: December 28, 2018, 9:48 PM IST
South Africa Overhaul Small Target with Ease at Centurion to Take Series Lead

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Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar scored half-centuries as South Africa completed a six-wicket win over Pakistan within three days of the first Test at Centurion on Friday (December 28).

Chasing 149, South Africa lost Aiden Markram early but Amla and Elgar added 119 for the second wicket to ensure victory for the hosts. Elgar fell for 50 while Amla remained unbeaten on 63 as South Africa reached home comfortably.

The target might have appeared small, but on an unpredictable pitch, it was still a tricky chase. South Africa found out the same soon when Markram was trapped in front by Hasan Ali for the second time in the match. This time, he was struck in the crease and fell for nought in just the second over.

Tails up, Pakistan's new-ball bowlers - Mohammad Amir and Hasan - went through a brilliant opening burst. South Africa managed just four runs in the first five overs, all of them through byes.

Hasan should have had Amla early too, but Fakhar Zaman dropped him at third slip when on eight. In the very next over, Dean Elgar survived a controversial decision for a catch in the slips off Shaheen Afridi; the on-field umpires suggested Azhar Ali took the catch cleanly, but the third umpire overruled the decision.

Pakistan were stunned by the decision, and their shoulders began to drop soon. The bowlers lost their discipline, and batting gradually got easier. The out-of-form Amla found his touch again, driving and flicking to the boundary. Elgar copped a few blows but kept fighting. At lunch, South Africa were 81 for 1.

The rest was just a matter of time. Amla reached his fifty - his first in 11 innnings - driving Afridi to the cover fence. Elgar reached there with a boundary too, but fell the next ball edging Shan Masood to Sarfraz Ahmed.

By then, South Africa needed only 30 runs. They did lose a couple more wickets, including that of Faf du Plessis for a pair, making this the first ever Test where both captains bagged pairs.

Amla, though, stayed unbeaten to guide the side home. Duanne Olivier, who picked 11 wickets in the game, was named the Player of the Match.
First Published: December 28, 2018, 6:16 PM IST

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