Third Test Match

South Africa v Pakistan

Toss: Pakistan.

Superficially, Pakistan looked even more powerful going into the final Test. Inzamam-ul-Haq, their finest batsman, had recovered from his ankle injury, and their best player, Wasim Akram, who had been left out of the original tour party, flew in. But this move by the Pakistan Board, going over the heads of the selectors, appeared to upset the team spirit carefully rebuilt by vice-captain Aamir Sohail in Durban. There was worse. Sohail handed back the captaincy to Rashid Latif, who declared himself fit; but Latif did not appear to possess Sohail's leadership qualities and his authority was not helped when he made a pair and kept wicket erratically. Wasim did not look match-fit, and Inzamam scored six and four. Pakistan imploded and South Africa levelled the series with some ease.

South Africa brought in left-arm wrist-spinner Adams, in place of Klusener, but did not even use him in the first innings. Instead, De Villiers, playing in what he said was his final Test, returned his best figures, six for 23, and had eight for 48 in the match. It was all over 25 minutes into the final day; if rain had not wiped out the second day, Pakistan's humiliation would have been even more obvious.

Latif's delayed debut as a Test captain did not start badly. He put South Africa in and, once again, their batting had to be bailed out by the lower order. Waqar Younis, bowling within himself and pitching the ball well up, took the first four wickets, and South Africa were in some trouble at 122 for five before a stand of 78 between Cronje and Pollock; Cronje scored 85, which included two sixes off Mushtaq Ahmed. Waqar returned to claim his 250th wicket in 51 Tests - De Villiers - and finished with six for 78, but Boucher's third fifty of the series had lifted South Africa to 293 on the third morning, after the second-day washout.

A draw looked likely. But then Donald showed his fondness for the St George's Park ground. Switching ends after three limp overs, he suddenly produced a burst of four for five in 13 deliveries - reducing Pakistan to 29 for four. It inspired a delicious spoonerism from his former team-mate, Dave Richardson, now a TV commentator: This is a happy grunting hound for Allan, he said. It also proved a happy grunting hound for De Villiers, who took the other six. Pakistan were all out for 106, 187 behind, with Wasim, undefeated on 30, their top scorer. Boucher held six catches to equal Dennis Lindsay's South African record.

A solid 69 by Kallis provided the fulcrum of South Africa's second innings, which Cronje declared at 206 for seven. Mushtaq, suffering from a neck injury, did now bowl. Pakistan needed a far-fetched 394 for victory and ended the fourth day on 120 for seven, with defeat inevitable. South Africa needed just 35 balls to complete the job on the final morning; Donald's match figures were eight for 74.

Man of the Match: M. V. Boucher. Man of the Series: Azhar Mahmood.

Attendance: 26,648.

Close of play: First day, South Africa 262-7 (M. V. Boucher 27*, P. S. De Villiers 1*); Second day, No play; Third day, South Africa 94-2 (J. H. Kallis 32*, H. D. Ackerman 0*); Fourth day, Pakistan 120-7 (Azhar Mahmood 30*, Waqar Younis 3*).

© John Wisden & Co