Mohammad Amir said the Pakistan bowlers’ plan to control the run rate by maintaining tight lines in the final session worked wonders as South Africa collapsed from a position of strength to fold for 262. Amir explained after the day’s play on Friday, 11 January, that it was a combined effort. “You have to bowl as a combination. It’s a bowling unit so we have to back each other up.
“(Mohammad) Abbas and I were doing that because that was the plan to control the run rate. That’s why we were successful,” he said. Although a spirited performance from Pakistan’s bowlers in the evening session limited the hosts to 262, South Africa’s hopes of a series whitewash remain alive after Vernon Philander’s two wickets late on day one.
South Africa went to tea on the first day of the third Test in Johannesburg comfortably placed at 226/3 with Theunis de Bruyn (48) and Zubayr Hamza (38) well set, and it looked like the Pakistani bowlers were in for another long day in the field.
Aiden Markram (90) and Hashim Amla (41) had batted the hosts to a position of strength, but the third session saw them lose their last seven wickets for just 36 runs as the Pakistani fast bowlers, helped by the pitch livening up towards the end of the day, brought their team back in the contest.
The pitches in this Test series have been difficult to bat on, as evident from only one score more than 300 so far. This wicket, however, is better for batsmen than the previous two in the series, Amir said.