Proteas comeback strong against Pakistan on day three*****LEAD*****

ISLAMABAD:South African all-rounder George Linde and spinner Keshav Maharaj proved fatal for the Pakistani batsmen as the green-shirts lost six wickets on day three of the second Test at Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi on Saturday. Despite the five-wicket haul from pacer Hasan Ali the Pakistani batsmen failed to create magic in the second innings and lead by 200 runs for the loss of six wickets. Pakistan top order yet again failed as Imran Butt 0 and Abid Ali 13 were dismissed in the 5th and 17th over, respectively in the second innings. Imran was trapped lbw by Rabada as the ball hit him in front of middle stump and was given by the umpire while Abid went straight into the keeper’s gloves down the leg side in Maharaj’s over. The second highest scorer (77) of the first innings Skipper Babar Azam (8) went early as he was trapped lbw by Maharaj in the 23rd over. Babar looked to defend, but the ball whizzed past the inside edge of the bat and hit his front pad. George Linde destroyed the middle order of Pakistan as he took two major wickets of Azhar Ali (lbw) 33 and danger man Fawad Alam 12 in the 32nd and 36th over, respectively. Linde struck again in the 50th over and took the highest scorer (78) of the first innings Faheem Ashraf on 29. Meanwhile, Hasan bagged two wickets on the second day while took three on the third. He bagged wickets of Elgar 15 and Rassie van der Dussen 0 on day two while took George Linde 22, Keshav Maharaj 1 and Arnich Nortje 0 on day three. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Nauman Ali took a wicket each. Afridi struck early morning on day three as he grabbed the South African Skipper Quinton de Kock in the 31st over when he tried to drive the ball away from his body, but an inside edge crashed into the leg stump. Quinton de Kock was out for a 20-ball 29. South Africa were 106 runs for four in 28 overs and trailed by 166 runs at end of the second day. South Africa lost its 6th wicket of Wiaam Mulder who was run out as he attempted to make 2nd run in the 54th over while George Linde 22 and Keshav Maharaj 1 was bold by Hasan in the 58th and 62nd overs, respectively, who made a comeback in the Pakistan team after June 2019. Hasan also bagged two wickets on day two of Dean Elgar 15 and Rassie van der Dussen 0. The 66th over bowled by Hasan saw the last two wickets coming. Kagiso Rabada was run out by Abid Ali on a duck while Arnich Nortje 0 was dismissed by Hasan. South African was all out of 201 runs in 65.4 overs.

Speaking at the virtual press conference at the end of day three, Pakistani pacer Hasan Ali said the conditions for reverse swing were available in Rawalpindi but it required good line and length.

“The pitch was looking very difficult for the batsmen at the moment but good line and length is needed to take wickets,” he said.

Hasan said the pitch was slow which makes it difficult for the batsmen to score runs. “The 200-run lead on the Pindi pitch was good but our effort is to score as many runs as possible. Me and Mohammad Rizwan were batting at the moment and we will try to score more runs,” he said.

He said it was very difficult to stay away from cricket during the injury. “I focused a lot on fitness and worked hard then performed well in domestic cricket. I believe there are ups and downs in a player’s life but this time should be passed with joy,” he said.

To a question, he said he wanted to tell his fans on the social media that his passion for the game didn’t lessened even in the difficult times. “I love being a Test cricketer because I love the longer version of the game and I have told the selection committee that I was ready for any format,” he said.

Meanwhile, South African all-rounder George Linde said he thought his season was done when he saw the injury but was quite happy that his finger wasn’t broken. “When I’m bowling I have got to lift it up a little bit to grip the ball,” he said.

He said it was difficult to get wickets against a good opposition. “I believe we bowled well in both games and I’m sure the boys will be ready tomorrow because we are hungry to win this Test match to draw the series,” he said.

He said Pakistan bowled well and you have to give credit to them. “I’m sure the batsmen have got game plans for whenever we are going to bat,” he said he was confident that they would be able to chase around about 270 and 300 target.