2nd Test, Rawalpindi, February 04 - 08, 2021, South Africa tour of Pakistan
272 & 298
(T:370) 201 & 274

Pakistan won by 95 runs

Player Of The Match
5/54 & 5/60
Player Of The Series
166 runs

Markram's reply to Rizwan's maiden century gives South Africa hope in 370 chase

If the visitors manage to pull it off, it will be the highest successful chase in Pakistan

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
Aiden Markram launches it down the ground, Pakistan vs South Africa, 2nd Test, Rawalpindi, 4th day, February 7, 2021

Aiden Markram is in the middle of a tour that may well define him as a player in the future  •  Getty Images/AFP

Stumps South Africa 127 for 1 (Markram 59*, van der Dussen 48*) and 201 (Bavuma 44*, Hasan 5-54) need Pakistan 298 (Rizwan 115*, Linde 5-54) & 272 (Faheem 78*, Nortje 5-56) 243 runs to win
On a day when West Indies completed the highest successful chase in the subcontinent to win the first Test against Bangladesh, South Africa put themselves in a position to pull off the best effort by a visiting team in Pakistan. Set 370 to win the Rawalpindi Test, South Africa finished the day 242 runs behind, with nine wickets in hand and set batsmen at the crease.
Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen's second-wicket partnership is worth 92 and demonstrated the kind of application South Africa's line-up have lacked for large parts of the series so far. Although the surface has become easier to bat on, with little sign of the turn that was noticeable on the first day, and no reverse swing yet, both batsmen made noticeable adjustments to their technique. Markram's improved footwork against spinners saw him record his second half-century of the tour while van der Dussen countered the low bounce with a substantial stride forward stride and by playing the ball close to the body as often as possible. He is two short of his own second fifty of the series.
The pair came together after Dean Elgar, whose first 16 runs came from four boundaries, got carried away by his aggressive approach and chased a wide Shaheen Shah Afridi delivery only to edge to Mohammad Rizwan. Television cameras caught Elgar flinging his bat in frustration once he had reached the dressing room.
At that stage, Markram had only just found his rhythm after seeing off 22 dot balls, 18 from Afridi, before taking on the spin. In one over, Markram took 14 runs off Nauman Ali and survived a review for lbw after UltraEdge showed he had inside-edged the ball onto his front pad. Markram continued to play Nauman and later Yasir Shah with confidence but also pounced on loose spells from Hasan Ali, who struggled to find the right length. Markram's fifty came off 71 balls, at better than a run-a-ball after his initial scoreless vigil.
Van der Dussen had a little more trouble against Nauman and was twice beaten by flighted deliveries outside off but quickly adjusted to playing the ball as close to the body as possible. He punished Faheem Ashraf for poor lines, leaving Babar Azam with no option but to go back to Afridi and the spinners, neither of whom were able to make a breakthrough.
Pakistan may still feel they have enough, both because the highest successful chase in the country is Sri Lanka's 220 at the same venue 21 years ago and because South Africa have not successfully chased a total over 200 in almost a decade. The last time they achieved the feat was when they scored 236 for 2 to beat Australia in Cape Town in 2011. Since then, South Africa have been set targets of over 200 on 20 occasions, and have lost 17 of those matches , including six in the subcontinent.
But this Pindi surface has not deteriorated enough to make it unplayable and, as Pakistan showed in the third innings, run-scoring remains free-flowing. Rizwan was the most fluent of the home batsmen as he scored his first Test century and led a lower-order fightback. Pakistan's last five pairs put on 222 runs including 53 between Rizwan and Yasir and 97 between Rizwan and Nauman, and continued the trend of the home side getting valuable rearguard contributions. At the same time, their stubborn resistance told the story of the problems South Africa have encountered in dismissing the tail throughout the series. In Karachi, Pakistan's last five stands were worth 252 in the first innings, setting up a lead that laid the foundation for the win.
Despite that, South Africa took pride from how they controlled the run-rate. Even that failed them in the post-lunch session in Rawalpindi. They conceded 81 runs in 17 overs, at a rate of 4.76 as Rizwan and Nauman took advantage of a weary attack. There was some consolation for South Africa's bowlers. George Linde, bowling with heavy strapping around his lacerated left little finger, took his first five-for, joining Nortje and Hasan as the bowlers who have prospered on this pitch.
South Africa's spinners fared better than their seamers overall with Keshav Maharaj finishing with three wickets. Kagiso Rabada only bowled seven overs on the fourth day, while Nortje's bouncers were not enough to unsettled Rizwan, who was strong on the back foot and the pull. Since his comeback in November last year, Rizwan has played 12 Tests and scored six fifties and a hundred and he averages a shave under 45.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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