JOHANNESBURG: Captain Sarfraz Ahmed has blamed three bad shots for Pakistan’s batting collapse during day two of the third and final Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the press conference, the Pakistani skipper admitted that he and the other batsmen got out by playing bad shots.
Sarfraz scored 50 off 40 balls and Babar Azam played some thrilling strokes in putting on 78 off 61 balls for the sixth wicket but both were out within the space of five balls.
Sarfraz played one cut shot too many and was caught at first slip off Kagiso Rabada before Babar Azam hooked Duanne Olivier to long leg.
Faheem Ashraf got into a tangle trying to play a pull shot and spliced a simple catch to short leg.
“I blame three bad shots, me, Babar and Faheem for the collapse,” Sarfraz said. “I worked on my batting and I saw the result of it. In South Africa, you have to be careful while batting.”
The Pakistani skipper hailed Proteas batsman Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram and said they are batting excellently. “I think if you talk about our day, we had a chance to get to 262 runs but we didn’t get it,” Sarfraz said.
“When me and Babar were batting, we were thinking we should play positive cricket. Unfortunately, I couldn’t score more than 50. If I had scored 50-70 more runs, the position we’d be in would be much better.”
South Africa need seven more wickets to win the third test at the Wanderers and sweep the series after Pakistan were 153 for three wickets at the close of play on Sunday, still 228 runs short of a daunting winning target.
Dale Steyn claimed two wickets and Duane Olivier the other for his 22nd of the series as South Africa removed the top order after Pakistan had made a solid start with a 67-run opening wicket partnership.
Pakistan had been set a target of 381 to win after bowling their hosts out for 303 before tea on the third day of the test in Johannesburg.
They will resume on Monday with Asad Shafiq not out on 48 and Babar Azam on 17.
Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood made a positive start to Pakistan’s second innings, attacking the South African pace attack before Steyn made a quick double breakthrough.
Imam-ul-Haq got a feint edge as Steyn moved the ball across the left hander and was out for 35 and Shan soon followed back to the pavilion after a television review, adjudged to have got a slight inside edge to another difficult delivery.
Olivier then claimed the wicket of the out-of-form Azhar Ali as wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock took his third catch of the innings.
Olivier is now three wickets off equalling South Africa’s 117-year-old record for the most wickets in a three test series.
De Kock hit the highest score of the series on Sunday to help South Africa into pole position for a third successive test win.
He scored 129 off 138 balls for only the second century of the series, following Faf du Plessis’ 103 in the second test in Cape Town last week.
Hashim Amla added 71 after South Africa had resumed day three on 135-5 with 21 from Kagiso Rabada as they provided support to De Kock.
Amla was the first wicket to go on Sunday, touching his glove to a rising delivery from Hasan Ali on a pitch cracking in places and offering uneven bounce.
Rabada featured in a 79-run partnership for the eighth wicket with De Kock.