Pakistan fought back in the final session of day one of the third Test to bowl South Africa out for 262, keeping the hosts on their toes as they chase a series whitewash.
But the day’s play wasn’t done there, as seamer Vernon Philander enticed the edge of Shan Masood and Azhar Ali’s bat to dent the visitors’ mood after a thrilling day at the New Wanderers Stadium, which ended with Pakistan 17/2.
Aiden Markram (90) was in supreme form at the top of the South Africa order earlier in the day, while a useful partnership between Theunis de Bruyn and debutant Zubayr Hamza ensured the hosts entered tea in high spirits.
South Africa had bossed the first session and the latter half of the second, but when de Bruyn moved across his stumps and was out plum lbw to the ever-precise Mohammad Abbas, one run short of his half-century, Pakistan’s speedsters, who had earlier looked bereft of ideas, began to turn the innings on its head. It launched a passage of play that saw South Africa lose seven wickets for 33 runs.
Mohammad Amir got Temba Bavuma caught behind before Hamza (41) fell in similar fashion. Philander fell lbw to Hasan Ali after Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed opted to review the rejected appeal, while Quinton de Kock holed out in the deep off Faheem Ashraf before Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier were removed without troubling the scorers.
Amir (2/36) and Abbas (2/44) proved both menacing and economical, while Hasan (2/75) helped remove the tail, but it was Faheem who got the most reward with 3/57.
What a day of Test cricket!— ICC (@ICC) January 11, 2019
After an evening session that featured nine wickets, Pakistan are 17/2, trailing South Africa's first-innings total by 245 runs.
Which side will be the most pleased with their day's efforts?#SAvPAK SCORECARD 👇 https://t.co/jCOIZUOF6T pic.twitter.com/2SWKGpUnJG
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the day started on a sour note for the Proteas after Dean Elgar – standing in for du Plessis as skipper due to the latter’s suspension for a slow over-rate – nicked off to Abbas.
But it didn’t deter Markram, who set a thumping tempo for the first session, recording a 72-ball half-century, with Hashim Amla proving a useful aide. The duo added an unbroken century partnership before lunch, with Markram’s brutal blows through the off side the highlight of the session.
A brilliant first session for South Africa in Johannesburg, reaching 108/1 at lunch.— ICC (@ICC) January 11, 2019
Aiden Markram has been the star for the Proteas, currently unbeaten on 78 from 101 balls. #SAvPAK LIVE 👇 https://t.co/jCOIZUOF6T pic.twitter.com/ZXnB1I0F0F
After lunch, the opener (90) fell short of the century his innings deserved, unluckily feathering a Faheem delivery down the leg-side, which Sarafraz impressively grabbed.
That brought the under-pressure de Bruyn to the crease, who was tentative until a glorious straight drive off Abbas eased the jitters. Hashim Amla (41) played a loose, back-foot slash against the menacing Shabab Khan, which was athletically grappled by the flying Asad at slip to make it 154/3.
Despite losing Aiden Markram for 90, South Africa are motoring along in Johannesburg, ending the second session of day one on 226/3.— ICC (@ICC) January 11, 2019
Debutant Zubayr Hamza is unbeaten on 38, while Theunis de Bruyn has 48 runs to his name. #SAvPAK LIVE 👇 https://t.co/jCOIZUOF6T pic.twitter.com/ICXEORVfhO
Pakistan reviewed an lbw appeal soon after, which was rejected for the second time, before a rising, fizzing delivery almost outdone de Bruyn, whose edge just evaded slip. Pakistan had wrestled back some of the initiative after being made to toil earlier in the day.
However, De Bruyn and Hamza – the Cape Cobras batsman on debut – both rode the early pressure and grew in stature throughout the second session, propelling South Africa to 226-3 at tea. A leg-side six off Shadab and an aggressive pull off Hasad provided a tasty preview of Hamza’s offering.
But it was the third session that hogged the action, as the day's play concluded in thrilling fashion.