Wickets tumble at Wanderers, South Africa takes 212-run lead
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa led Pakistan by 212 runs with five wickets left as the third and final test accelerated toward a conclusion on Saturday after just two days' play at the Wanderers.
South Africa was 135-5 in its second innings at stumps after 13 wickets fell on the second day in Johannesburg on a pitch offering fast bowlers on both teams plenty to work with. Twelve wickets fell on the first day.
A result is almost certain now with South Africa chasing a 3-0 series whitewash and Pakistan, 2-0 down and with the series gone, hoping for something to lift spirits.
A lead of 250 or more would likely prove challenging for Pakistan to chase and South Africa was approaching that, thanks to an unbroken stand of 42 between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock that steadied another shaky innings and put the pressure back on Pakistan.
Amla was 42 not out and de Kock 34 not out.
Pakistan began the day 17-2 in its first innings, reached 169-5 with a lightning-fast half-century from captain Sarfraz Ahmed, and then lost five wickets for just 16 runs to collapse to 185 all out — the fourth time in five innings this series the tourists have failed to get to 200.
That mirrored South Africa's collapse in its first innings, when the home team lost 7-33 and was all out for 262.
It was South Africa's turn to be in trouble early in its second innings.
Pakistan allrounder Faheem Ashraf, called in to the team for this test, was his team's best bowler with 2-19, including the wickets of Theunis de Bruyn and Zubayr Hamza off consecutive deliveries that saw the Proteas slump to 45-4.
Amla and Temba Bavuma dug South Africa out of that first hole with a 48-run stand but the home team was in peril again about 30 minutes before stumps when it lost Bavuma, its last specialist batsman, to an edge behind off legspinner Shadab Khan.
Amla and de Kock saw them to stumps and pushed the lead closer to that first target of 250.
South African paceman Duanne Olivier was the main destroyer of Pakistan earlier in the day, bowling short and fast — as he's done all series — to rock the tourists' batting lineup with his 5-51. It was Olivier's third five-wicket haul of the series and took his series tally to 21 wickets.
Olivier twice took two wickets in an over in the innings.
Sarfraz briefly fought back for Pakistan, hitting 50 off just 40 balls in an adventurous counterattack. Sarfraz flashed a cover drive for four off the first ball he faced — one of his eight boundaries — and looked like he might inspire Pakistan to a precious first-innings lead.
That didn't materialize as Sarfraz's wicket, caught after a juggle by Amla at slip off Kagiso Rabada (2-41), sparked Pakistan's collapse.
Olivier stormed in next over to send Babar Azam (49) and Faheem Ashraf (0) packing off consecutive deliveries and Pakistan fell away after that. Olivier completed his five-for with a short ball aimed at the ribs of Mohammad Amir, who prodded a catch to short leg.
South Africa had begun the day carelessly in the field, dropping four catches and missing a run out chance. There was also another injury worry over fast bowler Dale Steyn.
Nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas frustrated South Africa during that time, putting on 47 with opener Imam-ul-Haq until Olivier finally got him out.
Steyn saw three of the four dropped catches go down off his bowling and also left the field temporarily holding his right shoulder, the same shoulder he injured seriously in 2016 to leave him sidelined for more than a year.
Steyn returned to the field and bowled again, though, allaying fears of serious damage for South Africa's leading test wicket-taker.