Dean Elgar (32) and Hashim Amla (45) dug deep in the second innings as the Proteas went to lunch needing only 68 runs to win, with nine wickets in hand in the Centurion Boxing Day Test.
The Proteas’ chase was problematic, as the batsmen struggled to read the inconsistent trajectories of the ball on the Centurion wicket. Throughout the Test match variable bounce and sideways movement on the pitch has been an issue for both batting lineups.
The Proteas may only be chasing 149 runs for victory, but it would by no means be easy, considering the accuracy and consistency of the Pakistan seam attack.
Aiden Markram was first to go when a Hasan Ali seam delivery hit a crack and cut in dramatically to his pad, out lbw for a two-ball duck.
Elgar and Amla battled hard for every run, with Amla dropped in the slips by Fakhar Zaman when his score was on eight.
Elgar was next to receive a little luck when he edged a Shaheen Afridi delivery to the slips with his score on four, but the soft signal of out was controversially overturned by the third umpire.
Replays showed that the ball touched the ground, and according to the third umpire there was not enough evidence to show that there were fingers under the ball.
Elgar and Amla continued to grind it out in the middle, with Elgar facing 79 balls for his 32, while Amla took 75 balls in compiling his 45. The Proteas finished the morning session on 81-1, needing just 68 runs for the victory.
Pakistan (second innings) – 190 (Imam-ul-Haq 57, Shan Masood 65; Duanne Olivier 4-59, Rabada 3-47)
South Africa (second innings) – 81-1 (Dean Elgar 32*, Hashim Amla 45*; Hasan Ali 1-35)
Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix