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DAY 4 TEA: Proteas have mountain to climb

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Mohammad Rizwan’s maiden Test hundred helped Pakistan to set South Africa a monumental 370 to win the second Test and tie the series in Rawalpindi.

Mohammad Rizwan celebrates scoring a ton against the Proteas. Photo: Pakistan Cricket Board

Mohammad Rizwan’s maiden Test hundred helped Pakistan to set South Africa a monumental 370 to win the second Test and tie the series in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

The Pakistan wicket-keeper played brilliantly, smartly marshalling the tail, as he finished on 115 not out, helping the hosts recover from 76/5 on Saturday afternoon, to finish on 298.

Rizwan was at the crease for eight minutes short of five hours, faced 204 balls, hitting 15 fours. Crucially, he shared a series of partnerships with the tail that took the game away from the Proteas. There was a 52-run sixth wicket stand with Faheem Ashraf, in which the duo absorbed significant pressure from South Africa on Saturday, then came a 53-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Yasir Shah on Sunday, when South Africa’s bowlers and fielders looked very flat.

The game was taken away from the tourists during a 97-run stand for the ninth wicket Rizwan shared with Nauman Ali.

All the while Rizwan smartly manipulated the strike, turning ones into twos, while he regularly found the gaps, for singles to retain the strike.

South Africa’s mental state was summed up by the decision to put a fielder into the long-stop position for Nauman, Pakistan’s no.10 batsman.

Perhaps that was a distraction because shortly afterwards Nauman went on the pull and was caught by a diving Dean Elgar at mid-on. Nauman made 45, an innings in which he was largely untroubled, confidently sweeping the spinners, hitting six fours and two sixes.

George Linde claimed a first Test match ‘five for’ when he bowled the last man Shaheed Afridi for 4. Linde, who had to adjust his grip on the ball to account for the lacerated pinky picked up while trying to stop a Babar Azam straight drive on the first day, bowled 26 overs, picking up 5/64.

His spinning teammate, Keshav Maharaj, completed another marathon spell, after bowling 45 overs in the first innings, he added another 38 in the second, claiming 3/118.

IN pursuit of their target of 371, South Africa lost the wicket of Dean Elgar shortly before tea. It was an ugly end to what had been a short innings that contained a few beautifully timed drives. However, he got into an awful muddle against Shaheen, neither defending nor attacking a delivery he really should have just left alone with the ball finding the edge giving Rizwan a catch.

South Africa were 37/1 at tea with Aiden Markram on 14 and birthday boy, Rassie van der Dussen on 4.

@shockerhess