Proteas set massive target as Pakistan falter

2013-02-03 13:00

South Africa: 253 and 275/3 declared (De Villiers 103*, Amla 74*, Smith 52, Umar Gul 2/58, Saeed Ajmal 1/74)

Pakistan: 49 and 47/1 (Nasir Jamshed 39*, Philander 1/7)

Pakistan need 433 runs to win

AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla picked up where they left off, scoring quick runs before declaring, leaving Pakistan a massive 480 runs to win.

For Pakistan to win, they will have to score 62 runs more than the West Indies did against Australia at St John’s in Antigua in 2003.

However, the Wanderers pitch is not as generous as the Recreation Ground feather bed and there is a series lead at stake.

The West Indies were compelled to chase down the target as they were staring down the barrel of a whitewash.

There was a lack of urgency as to how Pakistan approached their bowling. They were not the sharp, fit and disciplined unit that made the Proteas grind for runs in the first day. In the nine overs prior to the declaration, Amla and De Villiers ransacked 68 runs, leaving the bowlers ample time to have a crack at the Pakistani openers.

While Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez were again reduced to fiddling blindly outside offstump, South Africa’s batsmen feasted on a diet of short pitched bowling.

It allowed De Villiers to scoot to his 15th test century off only 117 balls which was studded by 11 delightful boundaries.

There have been some lean pickings and rather obscenely high scores on De Villiers’ chart, but he is excelling in his role of ramming home advantages that have been set up by the top order.

For a change there was no third innings test century for Amla but with dodgy weather predicted for the rest of the match, the key was getting the win in quick time.

As usual Amla provided the perfect foil. His unbeaten 176-run partnership with De Villiers, along with the hot sun, could only be counterproductive for any chasing team.

Pakistan’s resistance was stouter in their chase, but it got off to the worst possible start when Hafeez was strangled down the leg side by Vernon Philander. Jamshed and Azhar Ali batted diligently enough to prevent a repeat of the first innings calamity.

The track had lost a bit of its venom as Jamshed’s buccaneering innings showed. There is still a lot for Pakistan to do though.

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