Dubai: Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan hit an unbeaten maiden Test century and shared a record-breaking ninth-wicket stand with Nauman Ali to set up a stiff target of 370 runs for South Africa in the second and final cricket Test on Sunday.
Rizwan smashed 15 boundaries in his knock of 115 off 204 balls in nearly five hours before Pakistan, leading the series 1-0, were bowled out for 298 in their second innings after lunch on day 4.
It gave Pakistan an overall lead of 369 runs after South Africa were bowled out for 201 in reply to the home team’s first innings score of 272.
Left-arm spinner George Linde (5-64), playing in his third Test match, took a maiden five-wicket haul and Keshav Maharaj picked up 3-118.
South Africa ran into early trouble when they lost Dean Elgar for 17 to reach 37-1 at tea. Pakistan have another four sessions to press for their first Test series win against the Proteas in 18 years.
Aiden Markram survived an lbw television referral against leftarm spinner Nauman Ali and was not out on 14 while Rassie van der Dussen was unbeaten on 4.
Pakistan was leading by 200 when it resumed on 129-6, but Rizwan got invaluable support from tailenders against scrappy South Africa fielding.
Yasir Shah (23), who was dropped twice, had a 53-run stand with Rizwan before he was caught behind off Linde. But it was No. 10 batsman Nauman’s defiance for 25 overs that frustrated South Africa the most.
Nauman, who hit two sixes against the spinners in scoring 45 off 78 balls in a knock that also included six fours, shared a record-breaking 97-run stand with Rizwan.
The partnership bettered Pakistan’s previous record ninth-wicket stand against South Africa when Azhar Mahmood and Shoaib Akhtar featured in a 80-run stand at Durban in 1998.
Rizwan raised his half century off 113 balls before lunch and then reached his hundred off 185 balls when he pushed Linde to cover point for a single.
Rizwan started the day with an imperious cover drive boundary off fast bowler Andrich Nortje’s first ball and also used his feet well against both spinners by playing sweep shots and drives to deny South Africa’s ambitions of keeping its victory target below 300 runs.
Nauman, who made his Test debut in the first Test at the age of 34, missed out on his maiden fifty when he was finally caught at midwicket while attempting a pull against Kagiso Rabada, who finished with 2-34.
Earlier, Hasan Ali (5) fell leg before wicket to Maharaj in the day’s sixth over before two dropped catches allowed Shah to add 53 valuable runs with Rizwan.
Captain Quinton de Kock couldn’t grab a faint edge behind the wicket when Shah was on 10 and then Linde couldn’t hold on to a tough one-handed catch off his own bowling when Pakistan’s lead was 257.
South Africa also dropped two catches late on the third day that enabled Pakistan’s lower order to make a strong comeback after the tourists had fallen to 76-5.
Pakistan won the first Test by seven wickets and have not beaten the Proteas in a home Test series since 2003.