SA win the toss, Pakistan have made loads of changes, the pitch is supposed to be a road that will speed up tomorrow and the next day, it look slike a funeral march for Pakistan.
Abbas is finding the nibble in the pitch and has taken Elgar very early, 5-1 SA. The temporary SA captain probably lost his match fee, too, screaming a loud profanity as he was being filmed on his way off the pitch. Apologies all round from the Supersport commentary
Aye, forget all that, SA are beating PAK up again. 108-1 at lunch and looking imperious. There have bene a couple of half chances, one at gully that was legitimate but would have been a very beautiful catch...but that Markram is absolutely real. Just imperious looking, it's not always pretty (it often is though!) but it's always affective. I like him a lot and he's playing a lot of very nice shots. Most of all he's immune, seemingly, to being frozen in place - that's not quite right, what I mean is, when Abbas pitches him a perfect delivery that is to be treated neither by going forwards or going back, he keeps great form. He doesn't need any of those trigger movements you see even the greats relly upon to one degree or another.
I'm starting to worry about Abbas. What if he's not immortal?
I'm at work, so wathcing the cricket is hard, but i've seen nothing to make me think that Markram won't get his 100 or that Amla won't get his 50. Tune in after lunch to find out. This one's on sky sports.
Ali and Ashraf destroyed the SA tail only for Pakistan to drop two wickets landing on 17-2 at the end of the first days play. A great day of test cricket but it's ended with Pakistan having to come out for the second day reticent and nervous of collapse. Pakistan turned the day around only to shit it off with the bat again. Shame.
Awww, they got Abbas while I was in the shitter. He's gone for 11, good contribution from the nightwatchman. You can never ask for more than a PB.
This weird little spell has returned Pakistan to touching distance. 53-3 but that's a slightly false score with Abbas the third man out. Haq has 35.
Aaaaaand here comes the collapse. Asad gets a short one from Olivier (who also took Abbas), but it's wide and not particularly dangerous looking. He shuts his eyes and ducks, almost like a woman being menaced by a seagull, and throws his hands in the air, exactly like a tail-ender. The ball takes the back of the bat or the back of the glove and he's out caught, pathetically. Shouldn't be paid. Score of 0. Four down, 210 odd behind.
Tell you what, there's always another treat around the corner in this sport.
Pakistan are ostensibly struggling. Steyn is bowling absolutely beautifully despite some sort of strain with his shoulder. At 111-5, Safraz Ahmed comes to the crease and gets Steyn down his throat. And he just blasts him for two beautiful driven consecutive boundaries, then Azam gets in on the act. Pure impudence from nowhere. Steyn doesn't know whether to laugh or take his head off. For a couple of overs the run rate is over 8.
But Pakistan are once again in trouble having once again got off to a start.
If SA had taken their catches, the test match would have been basically over. But they didn't; I just hope Pakistan can punish them for those mistakes. I don't hold out much hope but there's another start available here.
Absolutely crazy stuff from Pakistan. What are they all about? Coaches must be tearing their hair out.
Trailing by around 100 PAK were in good nick with Ahmed and Azam both at the crease on 50 and 49 respectively. Then, suddenly, widly, from nowhere, everyone is playing cross-bat kung-fu panda slashing strokes and Olivier is on a hat-trick (he didn't make it - hat trick ball was awful).
Three wickets in 10 balls including both Ahmed and Azam. So now they're 90 behind with nobody "in" at the crease, with Amir and Khan the men made responsible for getting Pakistan to within spitting distance of the SA total. This game could legit be over tomorrow.
In two spells right before and right after lunch, PAK looked like world-beaters. Beautiful strokes on the deck, all the shook gone. And suddenly...implosion, what the British press like to call a collapse, but it's not like they're being turned inside out. They're just doing weird things.
At 127-5, Pakistan need to clatter in the final few overs today and finish them without resistance tomorrow and then turn in a very good batting performance, something they haven't done on this tour, in the fourth innings. 250 was the shout in the commentary box, but i'd be very surprised if they managed 210 and 250 is the stuff of a madman's dreams.
Once again on this tour Pakistan position themselves then fail miserably to maintain. Been a hard watch for a fan of Pakistani cricket.
25 wickets fell in two days. I said this would be a bowler's series but Jesus.
Another glorious take-it-away fifty from Quinton de Kock at just about a run a ball to knock the Pakistani attack into a cocked hat. Game over man, gave over.
Another fifty too for Hashim Amla, who is playing Abbas beautifully and may have laid down a bit of a blueprint. He comes right across his crease, bets himself to match the pace of the ball n anything very straight and dares Abbas to put it wide enough to tempt him to edge. It really puts the thinking back on the bowler, and Abbas doesn't seem to love it. Abbas has just basically left him alone wide and played him off the pads. A couple of times Abbas has hit something so weird that he's bamboozled Hashim, but that's true no matter how you play him. It's a really good effort and i'm glad it's returned him runs.
All that's left to hope for is a brutal dismantling of the Pakistani bowling by rampant South African centurions. But it's difficult to root for that, Abbas is so brilliant and Ali is so earnest. He charges in, releases and when he gets hit for four he makes a noise like he's been kicked in the gut.
Watching Pakistan bowl is the opposite to watching them bat though.
Imperious century from Quinton de Kock, the South African wicket-keeper. OK, you had Cook's fairy-tale century last year but that aside, it's a long time since I've seen a pavilion more desperate to see the 100 on the board. The atmosphere in the whole ground, in fact, was electric as he got stranded on 99 for a couple of overs and tried, at least three times, to take a run that wasn't there. Good head on Rabada's shoulders up the other end giving it "No!", "No, no no!" and "Nooooooo!"
Beautiful, typical drive down the ground for his 5th test match 100 and one that made a day that has felt a bit dead rubber very watchable. 120 odd balls. Well done that man.
He's a good record for 50s, does Kock, but has a reputation for failing to convert, that's a little harsh given how much time he's spent batting with the tail - that's different pressure - but the raw numbers are bad.
Once again, with nothing at stake, Pakistan are every bit as imperious as de Kock. Glorious shots, wonderful footwork, seeing the ball; everything you'd want from an opening pair, Haq (18) and Masood (16) have delivered.
Hoping for anything other than humiliation at this point seems folly but, maybe Pakistan can make a fist of it.
They trail by 381, time is not an issue, South Africa will either stage an incredible victory or crumble to a seemingly inevitable defeat.
South Africa did the business this morning. They are looking legitimately menacing. How shit are Pakistan though? Did they just beat a weak side? The frustrating thing is that SA are visited by Sri Lanka in a couple of months for a foregone conclusion test series, then it's the world cup. SA aren't going to be tested until the other side of that. The ashes will be decided before SA take on serious opposition.
For now though, you just have to say they are confirmed monster and have the best attack in the world, better than Indian's i'd say.
The man of the series has surely been Duanne Olivier. Olivier only made the team due to fitness concerns where other bowlers were concerned having previously failed in England. He's been insulted with the term "enforcer" - he's so much more than that it almost seems funny now. He was by far the best bowler in a series festooned with excellent bowlers and has 20-some wickets to show for it. He's a "form" pick, but he'll make my world eleven when I update it this week.
He was key today in breaking the Pakistani resistance, such as it was. Once more he took wickets with back to back balls, the horrible bastard. It's a pisser we won't get to see him against anyone other than Sri Lanka before September.
Pick your five out of that @dmt (and anyone else who fancies a go). Playing at Lords.
Steyn has a good case for being in the five although of course there are guys not on the list - Holding, Marshall and Hadlee, who just got edged out of his spot - who you could argue are better than all of them. Anyway, fair play Steyn. He's going to get Kapil Dev, but then that will be his lot I think. But nobody active is all that close to these elites so #7 will be his spot for a couple of decades I reckon.