3rd Test – South Africa v Pakistan - Fast bowling unit secure a 3-0 clean sweep for South Africa
A comical mix-up between Shadab Khan and Mohammad Abbas, brought South Africa a richly deserved 107-run win, in the final Test, at Johannesburg and with it, a 3-0 clean sweep.
South Africa 262 (Aiden Markram 90, Theunis de Bruyn 49; Faheem Ashraf 3-57) and 303 (Quinton de Kock 129, Hashim Amla 71)
Pakistan 185 (Duanne Olivier 5-51) and 273 (Asad Shafiq 65)
Result - South Africa won by 107 runs
The ‘unlikely’ star of the home side was Duanne Olivier, who became a constant threat by hitting the seam hard and exposing the Pakistani batting techniques, primarily through short-pitched deliveries. His series haul of 24 wickets @ 14.70 was an outstandingly proud effort, even more remarkable for he was only included due to 22-year old paceman Lungi Ngidi’s knee injury. That is fate and Olivier was prepared to put the hard yards to enjoy the harvest of wickets and Player of the Series award.
Pakistan needed something very special to pull this one as it started the fourth day, still requiring another 228 runs with 7 wickets in hand. They did not get off to a good start as three of their key batsmen were back in the pavilion within 35 minutes of play. It was that man Olivier who by claiming Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed within two balls rocked Pakistan hopes. A devilishly quick lifter got Babar’s edge to the wicket-keeper and Sarfraz, expecting another short ball had his off stump castled with a brilliant off cutter.
Asad Shafiq’s ill-timed eagerness brought his downfall, partially it is to be said die to early fall of two wickets and the wide cracks on the fourth day pitch. Having accumulated a confident 65 off just 71 balls containing 11 punchy boundaries, he stepped out to meet Vernon Philander’s outswing and having committed himself far too early, could only edge to Dean Elgar at 2nd slip to leave Pakistan on 179-6. The frontline resistance, simply not lasting long enough, to make a match of it and Asad denied to match his heroic 137 in the fourth innings against Australia at Brisbane in 2016.
The tail-end with a target still over 200 runs away, now was up against Kagiso Rabada’s well-directed hostility. The baby face pacemen was all set to make an impact. Both Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Amir, could have done better than steering catches to gully position, occupied by Aiden Markham. Shadab Khan, determined to justify his no.7 batting position, played with good common sense and scored an impressive unbeaten 47 off 66 balls with 7 fours and smart running between the wickets. His partnership with Hasan Ali (22), who clubbed Rabada over mid-wicket for a six, was set to be fun.
The two young members of the touring side showed appetite for fight, a quality in short supply as far as front-line Pakistan batting was concerned throughout the three-Test series in South Africa. The pace and bounce has just been too much to handle on all three Test venues, including this one at Wanderers, that provided easily the best batting surface of the series. Hasan departed to a hook shot he tried against Rabada but not after having added 34 in 4.2 overs for the 9th wicket. The last wicket stand brought another 31 runs with Shadab and Abbas frustrating the South Africans, who chose to claim an extra half an hour and extend the opening session. A run out in captain Elgar’s first over of left-arm spin, brought an end to Pakistan’s misery in this one-sided contest and leading to the handshakes of the two teams, watched by a small Monday crowd.
The quality of the four-man pace attack that claimed 59 of the possible 60 wickets in the present three-Test series against Pakistan, has been the key factor in making South Africa, a hard side to beat in their own patch. Since Pakistan’s last tour (2012-13) here, South Africa has only been beaten twice, by Australia (2013-14) and England (2015-16) and won other nine series at home with more or less comprehensive margins. This is no consolation for the present Pakistan team that very rarely won a session and never came close to breaking the trend. A better prepared, managed and led Pakistan team might have stood a chance but sadly this squad did not have much of a chance.
South Africa - Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar(c), Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Zubayr Hamza, Quinton de Kock(wk), Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier
Pakistan - Imam ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali
©Cricket World 2019