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South Africa push on to 226-3 in 3rd Test against Pakistan
January 11, 2019
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JOHANNESBURG: Aiden Markram made 90 before a promising partnership involving new cap Zubayr Hamza pushed South Africa to 226-3 against Pakistan at tea on the first day of the final Test on Friday.

Opener Markram missed out on a century when he was caught down the leg side, ending a 126-run stand with Hashim Amla that put South Africa in a strong early position.

Amla fell for 41 soon after Markram went, to give Pakistan hope of reining in the Proteas when they were 154-3 after lunch.

Hamza, on Test debut, joined Theunis de Bruyn in the middle and they put on an unbroken partnership of 72 to consolidate South Africa control as the home team seeks a 3-0 series whitewash.

Hamza hit five fours and a six and played with freedom from the start of his first innings in Test cricket to go to 38 not out at the tea break.

De Bruyn, under pressure for a score after failing so far in the series, was 48 not out.

Pakistan didn't capitalise on an early breakthrough, when stand-in captain Dean Elgar was out for 5 in the second over and South Africa was 6-1.

Markram and Amla responded with their big partnership, with Markram especially smooth for his 90 off 124 balls with 16 fours.

He nicked one down the leg side from Faheem Ashraf, though, and Sarfraz Ahmed completed a diving catch to leave Markram 10 short of a second century in his last two Tests at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Hamza, in the team with captain Faf du Plessis suspended for over rate offenses, showed no nerves. His most impressive moment was when he rocked onto the back foot and hit legspinner Shadab Khan over midwicket for six.

Elgar is captaining South Africa in the absence of du Plessis, and he won the toss and opted to bat first. South Africa retained its four-pronged pace-bowling attack of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier, with South Africa's fast bowlers instrumental in the home team dominating the series.

Pakistan made three changes to its team in the hope of taking something from the series, bolstering batting and bowling with allrounders Shadab and Ashraf coming in. Seam bowler Hasan Ali was also recalled. The inclusion of those three gave captain Sarfraz five bowling options along with front-line fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas.

Abbas, Shadab and Faheem all had one wicket each.

Associated Press

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