Aiden Markram hit a solid half century and Rassie van der Dussen skilfully provided him with company, giving South Africa hope for an unlikely and intriguing victory in the second Test at Rawalpindi on Sunday. With a daunting goal of 370 runs, South Africa finished the fourth day at 127-1, with Markram at 59 and Dussen unbeaten at 48. The tourists will need another 243 runs on Monday to level the series. Previously, Pakistan finished with a score of 298 in their second innings, after a scintillating maiden hundred from wicket-keeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan that finished at 115, not out.
South Africa had lost opener Dean Elgar to fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi for 17 to a total of 33, before Markram and Dussen ignored Pakistani spinners on a seemingly unresponsive pitch after adding 94 for the unbroken second wicketstand.
Markram, who failed to score on his first 22 balls, shifted gears to reach his fifth 50 of 71 balls, hitting nine boundaries and two sixes so far.
Meanwhile has reached eight limits so far.
South Africa can draw confidence in the fact that two goals 300 plus have been chased in the past 20 days, with India overhauling 324 against Australia on January 18 in Brisbane and the West Indies on Sunday 395 against Bangladesh at Chattogram – both on the latter day.
Pakistan can take heart in the fact that no team has chased more than the 220 Sri Lanka scored in 10 tests at Rawalpindi in 2000, and South Africa hasn’t chased over 250s since 2014.
It was Rizwan who gave Pakistan the victory.
He was at his best, sewing a match-changing partnership of 97 points for the ninth wicket with batter number ten Nauman Ali making 45, frustrating the South Africans looking for a win in the series.
Rizwan, dropped at four by Dussen at Keshav Maharaj on Friday, punished South Africa and did not destroy their hopes for a victory with 115, spread over 292 minutes and laced with 15 borders.
He took a sharp single to reach his hundred, surpassing his previous record of 95 against Australia in Brisbane in November 2019.
The 97-point score also sets a new record for the ninth wicket against South Africa, breaking the 80 runs scored between Azhar Mahmood and Shoaib Akhtar in Durban in 1998.
Spinner George Linde, who took 5-64, picked up his first five-wicket swipe when he sent last man Shaheen Afridi away for four. Maharaj finished 3-118 while Kagiso Rabada had 2-34.
Pakistan, restarted at 129-6, added 88 runs for the loss of Hasan Ali (five) and Yasir Shah (23) in the first session.
Hasan was the first to go when he got stuck in the sixth time of the day, but Yasir helped Rizwan 53 for the eighth wicket in a stubborn grandstand.
Linde, who dropped Yasir from his own bowling when the batsman was at 15, eventually left him behind by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock to break the stands.
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