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South Africa’s Ashwell Prince attacks the Pakistan bolwing in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
South Africa’s Ashwell Prince attacks the Pakistan bolwing in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Steyn still feels Pakistan due for big collapse

South Africa face tough task on last day and the tame wicket again plays its part as Rehman makes his mark with three wickets and a 60.

ABU DHABI // Dale Steyn, the South Africa fast-bowler, is convinced Pakistan are due the type of batting implosion for which they have been well-known in the past.

If it arrives when the sides convene for the final day of their series at the Zayed Cricket Stadium today, South Africa could claim a Test series win to go with their earlier limited-overs triumphs over the same opposition.

In truth, Steyn was speaking more in hope than expectation. Wickets have been hard to come by in the two Tests these sides have played in the UAE and, although the Proteas lead by 323, forcing a win will be difficult on a featherbed pitch.

Their pursuit of victory was hamstrung somewhat by a tepid last session when their scoring rate slowed markedly. Consequently, they have lost valuable overs which might prove to have been handy if they hope to bowl Pakistan out again.

After bowling 30 overs and taking four wickets in the Pakistan innings, Steyn admitted he was "stood under a shower" while the gameplan for the remainder of the game was being devised. However, he believes victory is not out of the question.

"It is going to be tough work when we bowl again," Steyn said. "The wicket is pretty much a road.

"[But] we are confident Pakistan are due for a collapse. We have done pretty much everything we wanted to on this tour, apart from the wickets playing their part in the later stages of the Test matches.

"We are confident we can go out there and cause a small stir, then see what happens from there. It takes the two big wickets of Younus [Khan] and Misbah[-ul-Haq] to cause a bit of mayhem, then you never know."

South Africa's lead would have been far more substantial had Hashim Amla not been cut off in his prime.

Amla raced to 62 from 64 balls before being bowled by a perfect delivery from Abdul Rehman. When Amla was at the crease with AB de Villiers, the world's top two one-day international batsmen were in harness, and scoring was predictably free.

However, they followed each other back to the dressing room in quick succession, and the scoring rate was clipped as a consequence.

South Africa ended the day on 173 for four, after earlier dismissing Pakistan for 434. Rehman had taken three wickets, to go with the crucial 60 runs he had made earlier in the day.

Aged 30, and with more than 100 first-class matches to his name, Rehman is appearing in just his fourth Test.

He may be light on experience at this level, but he batted with all the assurance of the seasoned professional that he is.

He was watchful for the most part as he took his side to the brink of saving the follow-on, then took them past that target with a flourish.

With seven required to pass the mark, he skipped down the pitch and hoisted Paul Harris into the stands at long on for six.

He eased the next delivery for a single, and in so doing warded off the prospect of Pakistan being made to bat again.

"We are going to finish this game well," Rehman said. "There is more assistance for the bowlers now, but the pitch is still very good for batting."

Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain, faces a race against time to be ready for the first match of the forthcoming series against India. He is still being troubled by the knuckle injury he suffered when facing Shoaib Akhtar in the one-day international series, and an x-ray last night revealed he has fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left-hand.

pradley@thenational.ae

South Africa, 1st innings
584-9 dec

Pakistan, 1st innings (overnight 317-6)

Misbah    lbw    b Steyn    77
Rehman        lbw               b Botha                 60
Gul    lbw    b Harris    21
Tanvir    c Prince       b Morkel            30
Sami    not out                                 2
Extras    2w, 5b, 8lb, 2nb    17
Total (all out 144.1 overs)    434
Fall of wickets: 7-317; 8-353; 9-412; 10-434
Bowling: Steyn 30-8-98-4;  Morkel 33-13-94-1; Kallis 21-6-77-1; Botha 14.1-3-54-1; Harris 46-17-98-3


South Africa, 2nd innings
Petersen    c Younus    b Rehman    35
Amla        b Rehman    62
De Villers    lbw    b Rehman    25
Kallis    c Taufeeq    b Hafeez    10
Prince    not out                     27
Boucher    not out                 13
Extras            1nb                    1
Total (4wkts, 49 overs)    173
Fall of wickets: 1-81; 2-113; 3-130; 4-148
Bowling: Gul 4-0-25-0; Tanvir 3-1-15-0; Rehman 21-1-73-3; Sami 5-0-28-0; Hafeez 16-4-32-1

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