South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Centurion, 3rd day February 24, 2013

It ain't over till it's over

Plays of the Day from the third day of the third Test between South Africa and Pakistan in Centurion

Crowd participation of the day
Graeme Smith named SuperSport Park as one of the venues where the team always expects good support and they were not let down today. Although not full, there was a sizeable crowd in, who all wanted to be seen and heard. Throughout the morning session, those in one half of the grandstand repeatedly called out to fielders to "give them a wave." They began with Smith, who obliged, moved on to AB de Villiers, who followed suit and Alviro Petersen, who gave them double their money's worth to a double wave. By the time they got to Dean Elgar in the gully, the bowler was running in and Elgar could not respond, leaving them quite dissatisfied with his lack of enthusiasm.

Redemption of the day
But Elgar had ample time to make up for it when he was placed at third man in the dying passages of the match. He gave many waves before Sarfraz Ahmed slashed the ball his way. Elgar had to run backwards to judge the catch but managed to take it and stop himself from going over the boundary. Many cheers, waves and songs were enjoyed after that.

Crack of the day
South Africa expected the Centurion surface to break up on the third day and the cracks were evident early on. They become even more noticeable when Vernon Philander got the ball to spit out of one of them in the over before lunch. After landing on a good length outside the off stump, the ball kicked up and swerved towards first slip, leaving Azhar Ali wide-eyed. The television compass showed it had moved five degrees.

Throw of the day
Taking on a fielder's arm is dangerous on any cricket field in the modern age and taking on a South African's arm perhaps more so. Known for their precision, South Africa are one of the sides that make run saving as important as any other department of their game, and today, Dale Steyn showed why. Imran Farhat and Azhar had constructed a solid, albeit slow, stand and it was evident they were in no rush. Against the run of play, both decided on a second run in the second over after lunch but Farhat quickly realised Dale Steyn's arm would beat them there. He sent Azhar back who had about two metres to get back when the throw came in - flat, straight and strong - and de Villiers broke the stumps.

Appeal of the day
Kyle Abbott learnt a fair bit about appealing in the first innings and it showed in the second. Convinced that Farhat had hit the first ball of his second spell, Abbott was in full song as he tried to convince Billy Bowden. De Villiers, Smith and Petersen soon joined the chorus and after what seemed the length of an entire album of singing, Bowden raised the crooked finger.

Premature end of the day
South Africa were frustrated by Pakistan's tail and the last pair proved particularly pesky as neither Steyn nor Abbott could conjure up a yorker to remove them. After 5.3 overs of the partnership, Steyn thought he had broken through when Steve Davis gave Rahat Ali out caught at short leg. Rahat reviewed immediately and replays showed his bat had not touched the ball. Rahat survived and South Africa had to keep bowling, much to the irritation of one of the crowd, who saw it as an opportunity to storm the field and needed five security officials to remove him.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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