| Neil McKenzie takes evasive action as Younis Khan hits a boundary in Durban Saturday. (Reuters)
Durban, Dec. 28 (AFP): South Africa were two wickets and a handful of runs away from victory over Pakistan after Day III of the first Test at Kingsmead on Saturday.
Pakistan, forced to follow on, were 218 for eight, a meagre lead of 11 runs, when bad light stopped play with 18 overs still to be bowled. Victory in the two-match series would earn South Africa the ICC World Test Championship.
As in the first innings, inexperienced openers Taufeeq Umer and Salim Elahi gave Pakistan a solid start, but the team’s big names failed.
Inzamam-ul-Haq went for 13, Younis Khan for 30 and Yousuf Youhana’s 42 was the top score in another poor performance by the Pakistanis on a good pitch.
The hosts’ pace-based bowling attack kept the pressure on Pakistan with Jacques Kallis, Mornantau Hayward and left-arm spinner Nicky Boje taking two wickets each.
Umer and Elahi, who put on 77 in the first innings, took the total to 50 before Elahi was caught at third slip in the second over after lunch. He had plodded for 122 minutes to score 18.
Umer became Boje’s 50th Test victim when he was adjudged leg-before.
Boje claimed the key wicket of Inzamam when the veteran drove a low catch to Herschelle Gibbs at extra cover.
Pakistan were plunged into deeper trouble when Younis gloved a Kallis bouncer to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher after making 30.
Faisal Iqbal was bowled by Kallis for 17 before Youhana played a rash stroke to be caught at third man off Hayward.
Abdul Razzaq fell to a fine leg-side catch by Boucher off Hayward before Pakistan eked out a slender lead.
Pakistan were bowled out for 161 in their first innings, with their last two wickets adding 41 runs earlier on Saturday before Hayward completed his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket to finish with five for 56.
Captain Waqar Younis slammed a quick 28 off 19 balls to take his team within eight runs of avoiding the follow-on.