Cape Town - Dale Steyn took the first two second innings wickets to move into the top 10 on the all-time wicket-takers list as the Proteas set about clinching the final Test against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
SCORECARD: Proteas v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Wanderers
He now has 433 wickets which puts him in joint eighth place with Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath, who has just retired, and England’s Stuart Broad.
Pakistan had been set a tough victory target of 381 and two wickets from Steyn and one from the series leading wicket-taker, Duanne Olivier, left the visitors on 153/3 at stumps, needing a further 228 for victory.
Remarkably, in comparison with what has happened earlier in this match and previously in the series, only 8 wickets fell on day three as Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock made their overnight partnership for the sixth wicket worth 102 before the former departed (71 off 144 balls, 14 fours). De Kock then found useful partners in Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada as he went on to his fourth Test match century that also equalled his career best (129 off 138 balls, 18 fours and a six).
It was his first century against Pakistan and also his first on his initial home ground and made sure that he will finish the series as South Africa’s leading runs scorer.
Amla has also had a good outing with more than 100 runs in the match and, if one looks beyond the immediate outcome of the Test series, it is good news for South Africa’s World Cup prospects as, barring the unexpected, Amla and De Kock will lead off the Proteas batting line-up as they attempt to bring home the 50 overs premier trophy.
If the day belonged to De Kock, who also had stands of 28 with Philander and 79 with Rabada, there was also solace for Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed who established a national record by completing 10 dismissals behind the stumps in the match.
When Pakistan batted a second time they displayed better application than they have done through the series but again lost wickets of batsmen who were well set. De Kock was involved in all three wickets to fall to complete a memorable day.
One of the remaining batsmen will clearly have to score the century that has eluded them in the series to date if Pakistan are to win the match.