South Africa clinch series with big win

Mohammad Abbas' return to fitness means the impressive Shaheen Shah Afridi's place in the eleven is under threat. — File

Mohammad Abbas return to fitness means the impressive Shaheen Shah Afridi's place in the eleven is under threat. — File

Pakistan's beleaguered batting line up needs immediately to push it up as another failure will simply lead them to suffer the fifth bilateral Test series defeat in South Africa.

Du Plessis was 80 not out and Bavuma 60 not out to put South Africa in prime position to win the match and the series as it went to tea on 281-4 in its first innings.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur deemed the wickets in South Africa to not be up to the mark but the Protea skipper reckoned that the pitch for the second Test offered both departments opportunity to flourish.

Captain Faf du Plessis batted nearly the entire day for his 103 as South Africa gained a 205-run lead against Pakistan.

South Africa chased down the 41 runs required for a series win against Pakistan easily on the fourth day of the second Test in Newlands, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. "The standard of the wickets at Centurion and here hasn't been good enough for Test cricket", he said.

Starting their second innings on day four needing just 41 runs for victory, openers Dean Elgar (24*) and Theunis de Bruyn were subjected to a barrage of short-pitched bowling as the Pakistan seamers looked to give the hosts some of their own medicine.

A side that has yet to pass 200 in any of its three innings in the series to date already has its work cut out in this match - an hour of de Kock mayhem in the morning may push their hopes clean over the brink.

Du Plessis, however, was not to be denied as he marched inexorably towards his hundred, most notably with a series of rasping cover drives, which were unfurled in all their glory whenever Pakistan's quicks strayed in length.

"I felt I batted the best in the past year".

In the past, Pakistan played at Cape Town thrice in January 2003, January 2007 and February 2013 but the victor was always South Africa. But he gritted his teeth and got on with the job, and when on 96, Sarfraz behind the stumps spilled the simplest of leg-side deflections off the toiling Abbas, he knew it had to be his day. "(It is an) wonderful place to play cricket, with the mountains around and the crowd is awesome as well.

Regular South African opening batsman Aiden Markram did not bat after suffering a severely bruised right thigh when he fell heavily on the boundary rope while fielding on Saturday.

Hashim Amla then retired hurt after a bouncer rose into him steeply to strike him on the inside of his bicep.

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