Proteas clinch series victory over Pakistan

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Cricket - South Africa v Pakistan - Second Test - PPC Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa - January 5, 2019 South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of Pakistan's Babar Azam (not pictured) REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

South Africa reeled off their modest victory target of 41 runs early on the fourth day of the second test against Pakistan to clinch the series with a comprehensive nine-wicket triumph at Newlands on Sunday.

Cricket – South Africa v Pakistan – Second Test – PPC Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa – January 5, 2019 South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Babar Azam (not pictured) REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Opener Dean Elgar scored an unbeaten 24 as the home side added to their victory in Pretoria last month and will be looking to sweep the series in the third match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, starting on Friday.

The Proteas will have concerns over their top-order batting, however, with opener Aiden Markram not taking to the crease in the second innings with a severely bruised right thigh and Hashim Amla retiring hurt after he was struck on the bicep.

After bowling Pakistan out for 294 in their second innings on day three, the Proteas began day four needing to score only 41 to wrap up victory.

They did so for the loss of Theunis de Bruyn, caught behind for four, while Hashim Amla retired hurt for two.

But Dean Elgar’s 24 not out helped see them over the line in 9.5 overs.

De Bruyn was elevated to open in place of Aiden Markram, who made 78 in the first innings but suffered a bruised thigh while fielding on day three at Newlands.

Meanwhile, Amla went off after being hit on the elbow by pace bowler Mohammad Amir – leaving slight question marks over him and Markrem for the third and final Test, which begins in Johannesburg on Friday.

Pakistan will take positives from a test in which they avoided an innings defeat with a stout batting performance on Saturday to force the contest into a fourth day.

Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam all scored half-centuries as Pakistan produced their best day of batting on tour and scored more than 200 runs in an innings for the first time in the series.

Pakistan scored 177 in their first innings and were critical of the uneven bounce and cracks on the wicket at the iconic Cape Town venue but South Africa, with Du Plessis scoring 103, replied with 431.

Touring captain Sarfraz admitted a bad start, in which they lost five wickets in the first session, proved their undoing.

“It’s hard to recover if you’re losing five wickets in the first session, but the way our batsmen are batting, that’s how you learn in test cricket,” he said, adding the team would have benefited from more warm-up matches ahead of the first test.

Following the Test series, the sides will meet in five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.