An inexperienced Pakistan pace bowling line-up had South Africa in trouble before AB de Villiers steered the hosts to a respectable total on the first day of the third and final Test at SuperSport Park here yesterday. SA have already clinched the series having won the first two Tests. De Villiers made an unbeaten 98 as the hosts reached 334 for six.
De Villiers and Hashim Amla, who made a sparkling 92, were the only top-order batsmen to play significant innings against a three-man Pakistan bowling attack with only two Test caps between them. Rahat Ali and Ehsan Adil, neither of whom had taken a wicket in Tests before, were responsible for the first five dismissals as SA stumbled to 196 for five.
Left-arm Rahat, playing in his second Test, took three for 95, while new cap Adil (19) took two for 54. Amla looked set for his 20th Test century before edging a drive against a wide delivery from Rahat to be caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed. He struck 13 fours in a 128-ball innings and shared partnerships of 69 for the third wicket with Faf du Plessis (29) and 79 for the fourth wicket with De Villiers.
With SA missing star all-rounder Jacques Kallis because of a calf injury, De Villiers took over responsibility for batting out the day. He shared a sixth wicket stand of 52 with Robin Peterson, who made 28 before being run out, and an unbeaten seventh-wicket partnership of 86 with Vernon Philander (45 not out). De Villiers faced 179 balls and hit 13 fours. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was the most economical, conceding 70 runs in 26 overs