x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

South Africa pull back Pakistan through Steyn and Peterson

Early wickets give away Pakistan's slender lead of 12 runs as both teams look at 250 as a formidable target.

Dale Steyn took two wickets to peg back Pakistan yesterday. Shaun Roy / Getty Images
Dale Steyn took two wickets to peg back Pakistan yesterday. Shaun Roy / Getty Images

CAPE TOWN // Robin Peterson and Dale Steyn led a South African fight back which left the second Test against Pakistan evenly poised at the end of the third day at Newlands yesterday.

Pakistan were 100 for three at the close, a lead of 112.

Peterson hit 84 to enable South Africa to get within 12 runs of Pakistan's first-innings total of 338 and Steyn bowled at blistering pace to take two wickets as Pakistan lost their first three second innings wickets for 45 runs.

At that stage South Africa were slightly on top but Azhar Ali and captain Misbah-ul-Haq shared a largely cautious unbeaten partnership of 55 to see Pakistan through to the close without further loss.

South Africa were hampered by a recurrence of a hamstring injury to Morne Morkel, who left the field after bowling one ball in his second spell.

He had to stop bowling because of the same injury in the first innings too and seems unlikely to take the ball again. He is now a doubt for the third and final Test starting at Centurion on Friday.

Peterson led the charge by South Africa's lower order as they recovered from an overnight 139 for five to reach 326 all out.

"I had a good chat to a few people about how we were going to play Saeed Ajmal," he said.

Off-spinner Ajmal took all five wickets on Friday and finished with six for 96.

"Saeed is a genius of spin bowling. He can bowl about four different deliveries an over. Even if you can pick all of them it is tough to have that absolute concentration all the time. We had our hands full but the more overs he bowled the easier it became."

Both Peterson and Pakistan bowling coach Mohammad Akram felt that a target of around 250 was a benchmark.

"We don't want to chase more than 300," said Peterson. "Hopefully it will be under 250."

Akram said: "Anything over 250 will be a really good total."

He said although Pakistan were disappointed the Proteas' lower order had made so many runs the visitors were in a good position.

"South Africa are a good side. You expect you will get serious resistance. We are still in the game. After [defeat in the first Test in] Johannesburg, the boys are really upbeat about where we are today," added Akram.

Pakistan's first innings lead of 12 runs was soon shown to be negligible as Steyn and Vernon Philander both took wickets in their first overs.

Mohammad Hafeez was trapped leg before wicket by a ball which swung into him while, in the next over, Nasir Jamshed fell in similar fashion to Philander.

Bowling downwind in his second spell, Steyn troubled both Ali and Younis Khan, before the latter was forced on to the back foot, and chopped the ball into his stumps.

After being dismissed without scoring in the first innings, Misbah took 18 balls to score his first runs in the second innings but gained in confidence, three times hitting Peterson for six to reach 36 not out while Ali was unbeaten on 45.

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE