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Johannesburg Test: Pakistan positive while chasing daunting target

Visitors have been set a target of 381 runs during third and final Test of the series

PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan were 153-3 at stumps — after being set a target of 381 runs — on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

Middle-order batsmen Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq were unbeaten on 17 and 48 runs respectively.

Opening batsmen Imamul Haq and Shan Masood both started confidently as they scored freely against Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, neither of whom was able to find the swing or seam movement that they generated in the first innings.

After a decent opening stand of 67 runs, Imam was sent back to the hut by a Steyn delivery that moved away from the left-hander from around the wicket — after scoring 35 runs.

Steyn also accounted for the other Pakistan opener soon as Masood was dismissed after scoring 37 runs — edging one to De Kock behind the stumps.

When the score went past the 100-run mark, a ferocious delivery from Olivier sent Azhar Ali packing for just 15.

Earlier a century by wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock ensured Pakistan would face a huge task in their quest for a consolation win.

De Kock equalled his Test-best score of 129 before South Africa were bowled out for 303.

It was De Kock's fourth Test century and his first in two years.

De Kock went to the wicket with his side in some trouble at 93 for five, at which stage their lead was a modest 170.

De Kock shared a sixth wicket stand of 102 with Hashim Amla, who made 71, before adding 79 for the eighth wicket with Kagiso Rabada (21).

In an innings studded with flowing strokes, De Kock reached his fifty off 49 balls and his century off 121 deliveries.

He was finally caught in the deep, trying for a second successive six off leg-spinner Shadab Khan, after facing 138 balls and hitting 18 fours and a six.

Shadab finished with three for 41 while medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf took three for 42.

It must be noted that Pakistan have only made one total over 200 in their first five innings in the series and have not batted for longer than 70.4 overs.

South Africa have an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match series, having won the first two Tests relatively comfortably.