Proteas go for broke

Lucky Mdluli

With Pakistan 200 runs ahead at the start of the fourth day, there was still a glimmer of hope for SA to win the match and draw the series.

Granted, it was a long shot but not impossible. The wicket had proved lively on each of the first three days and wickets had tumbled and if the last four wickets could fall for less than 50, there was still a chance.

But between Mohammad Razwan, playing the innings of his life and scoring his first century (115) and Nauman Ali (45) they seemed to rip any chance of victory away from the Proteas, one boundary at a time.

From the South African point of view, it was good to see George Linde getting a sparkling, well-deserved fiver (5 wickets in 26 overs conceding 64 runs). By the time Pakistan were all out, the Proteas were looking at a massive target of 370 and without any other option, the SA batters took the match to the bowlers.

Is it a measure of the dreaded Big Match Temperament when top level participants (in any sport) do badly when it matters and do well when the pressure is off?

With nothing to lose, the South Africans are playing freely and scoring runs, the way South African fans were hoping they would play since the day they arrived in Pakistan.

Dean Elgar played some good shots, including four fours to score 17 runs in 24 balls before edging a wide ball to the wicketkeeper.

But Markram (59 not out) and Van der Dussen (48 not out) ended the fourth day scoring runs and possibly bringing the Proteas back into the match for one final burst of glory.

And is the age of miracles over? With South Africa still needing 243 runs to win with one day to go, it probably is, but wouldn’t it be ever so grand if they can pull it off?

Picture source: @OfficialCSA