A sensational start from Pakistan’s pacer Hasan Ali and the grit of Aiden Markram highlighted an eventful first session on the final day of the second Test between South Africa and Pakistan at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.
The Proteas finished the morning session on 219 for the loss of three wickets in 74 overs requiring 151 runs for an improbable victory on an unpredictable pitch.
With South Africa requiring 243 runs at the start of the final day with nine wickets in hand, Pakistan needed to strike early on the final day or risk losing the Test. Pacer Hasan Ali stepped up for his side with a brutal inswinging delivery that rattled the stumps of batsman Rassie van der Dussen, who had been the bedrock of South Africa’s fightback on day four alongside opener Aiden Markram. Dussen had made 48 runs off 97 deliveries and his partnership with Aiden Markram had yielded 94 runs off 200 deliveries before his departure.
Hasan Ali however was firing on all cylinders and trapped veteran batsman Faf du Plessis for an LBW soon afterward as the batsman departed for just 5 runs off 13 deliveries.
With Pakistan on the attack, Markram needed a solid hand at the other end and in walked batsman Temba Bavuma. The two batsmen endured some tense bowling from the Men in Green without going into a defensive shell.
Markram brought up his hundred on the stroke of lunch and remained unbeaten with a score of 100 off 221 deliveries with the help of 12 fours and 3 sixes at a strike rate of 45.25.
Temba Bavuma has also been solid at the other end, scoring an unbeaten 44-run knock off 92 deliveries with the help of five fours at a strike rate of 47.83.
The partnership between Markram and Bavuma has now stretched to 84 runs off 169 deliveries, which provides a big boost for the Proteas dressing room which hopes to come away with an improbable victory in the second Test to level the ongoing two-Test series.