Cricket - Pakistan poised for heavy defeat

Pakistan stumbled towards defeat against South Africa in the third Test at Centurion after losing four wickets for 21 runs early on the third afternoon.

PA Sport
Cricket - Pakistan poised for heavy defeat
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Dale Steyn, left, was amongst the wickets as South Africa moved towards an almost certain victory

Having followed on 253 runs behind following Saturday's capitulation to 156 all out, a fifty partnership between Azhar Ali and Imran Farhat raised hopes before they slipped from 93 for two to 114 for six.

The unlikely pairing of Saeed Ajmal and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed dug in as tea approached but with their side still 77 runs behind on 176 for six, and no batting of any note to come, their valiant efforts look sure to be in vain.

The visitors began the third day on 14 for one, 239 runs behind Graeme Smith's side, with Azhar and Younus Khan at the crease.

However, the partnership was broken on 38 by Dale Steyn, with Younus edging to Smith at first slip on 11.

Fears quickly began to grow of another Pakistan collapse but Azhar and Farhat patiently negotiated the remaining overs before lunch.

But after their partnership reached 54, a mix-up as they turned for a second run saw Azhar sent back by his partner and run out for 27 as Steyn fizzed in a powerful throw and AB de Villiers demolished the stumps.

Farhat followed for 43, missing out on a half-century when he slashed a short ball from Kyle Abbott to De Villiers, as this time the rot did set in.

Misbah-ul-Haq (five) offered another easy catch to the wicketkeeper with a thin edge off Rory Kleinveldt and Asad Shafiq (six) then popped the same bowler off a leading edge straight to Vernon Philander at wide mid-off with Pakistan still 139 behind.

Ajmal paddled Robin Peterson neatly over De Villiers' head for two and lofted the next ball down the ground for six as the pair offered some overdue resistance with a partnership of 62 by tea. The interval arrived with Sarfraz unbeaten on 30 and Ajmal on 27.

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