Aiden Markram’s century (108) went in vain as Pakistan registered a 95-run win over South Africa in the second Test at Rawalpindi to take the two-match series 2-0 on Monday. This is also Pakistan's first series win over South Africa since 2003. It was Hasan Ali, who picked up five wickets in each innings to finish career-best Test match figures of 10 for 114. His 5 for 54 in the first innings helped Pakistan bowl Proteas out for 201, while in the second innings, he picked up 5 for 64 and along with Shaheen Afridi (4 for 51), decimated South Africa.
South Africa, who had a great chance of registering a historic victory, needed 243 runs on Day Five with nine wickets in hand. Markram and Rassie Van der Dussen (48) were well set. But Hasan removed Van der Dussen in the third ball of the day and in his next over, he got rid of Faf du Plessis (5) as well to bring Pakistan right back into the game. But, Markram found a stable partner in Temba Bavuma, who had batted well in the first innings as well.
Markram got to his fifth Test century – his first outside South Africa – off the last ball before lunch, when South Africa needed 151 runs more to win with seven wickets in hand and two session to go.
The turning point of the day turned out to be when Pakistan took the second new ball. Off the first legal delivery of the over, Hasan had Markram caught at slip and off the very next ball, the South African captain Quinton de Kock flashed a full delivery outside off and was caught at slip for a first-ball duck. South Africa, who had clawed back into the game after 107-run fourth wicket stand between Bavuma and Markram, suddenly lost half their side with 127 more to get.
Hasan and Shaheen took over from there and within no time, South Africa were bundled out for 274. South Africa lost their last seven wickets for just 33 runs. Their batting collapse is nothing new. This has been a common instance for the Proteas for over two years now and it will need some addressing.
When Pakistan opted to bat after winning the toss, history was certainly not on their side as only once had a team won after batting first in Rawalpindi – Pakistan against Zimbabwe in 1993. Getting reduced to 22 for 3 did not help either, but Babar Azam (77), Fawad Alam and Faheem Ashraf (78*) took their team to a respectable 272. Pakistan’s top-order has looked extremely vulnerable in the series and it has often been the middle and the lower-order, who have dug them out of a hole. It has been quite the opposite for South Africa.
In reply, South managed just 201, largely thanks to some resistance from Bavuma and Wiaan Mulder (33), who replaced Lungi Ngidi in this Test. South Africa dominated the next phase of the match as they had Pakistan five-down for just 76, but Rizwan could not have found a better occasion to score his maiden ton. His unbeaten 115 and a crucial 97-run stand with Nauman Ali (45) for the ninth wicket helped Pakistan set South Africa a 370-run target.
In the first Test in Karachi, Pakistan won the game by seven wickets, thanks to Alam’s third Test ton to take a lead in the series. Pakistan take the entire 120 points from the series, but that will not be enough for them to make it to the World Test Championship (WTC) final. New Zealand have already qualified and are awaiting one of India, Australia or England in the summit clash at Lord’s on June 18.
Pakistan 272 (Faheem Ashraf 78*, Fawad Alam 45; Anrich Nortje 5 for 56) & 298 (Mohammad Rizwan 115*, Nauman Ali 45; George Linde 5 for 64) beat South Africa 201 (Temba Bavuma 44*, Wiaan Mulder 33; Hasan Ali 5 for 54) & 274 (Aiden Markram 108, Temba Bavuma 61;Hasan Ali 5 for 60) by 95 runs.