Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen ensured the Proteas stabilised affairs in the middle session of play against Pakistan in Karachi.
The Proteas, who were 84-1 at tea (trailing by 74 runs), were watchful throughout their batting innings, particularly against the Hasan Ali-Yasir Shah bowling partnership. Shah was predictably the most threatening of the hosts’ bowlers, especially when he found the footmarks outside the left-hander’s off-stump.
Incessant pressure built in this manner accounted for Dean Elgar. The opener was being tied down through Shah’s accuracy, and opted to sweep him from out of the rough. The ball caught a bottom edge and spat of his pad towards Mohammad Rizwan at short leg, who took a sharp catch. Elgar was struck on the glove just before that and had been taken to hospital for scans.
Markram looked determined and organised, evidenced by his 34* off 129 deliveries. He played like a man aware that his Test career is on the line, which it is. He found a willing and able accomplice in Van der Dussen, who could be seen and heard constantly encouraging his partner to stick to the gameplan.
The wicket is likely to turn even more in the coming hours, while variable bounce will become more pronounced. The Proteas need to remain watchful, and be quick to take full advantage of any loose deliveries.