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Misbah, Shafiq delay South Africa

Published:Monday | February 4, 2013 | 12:00 AM


South Africa is confident of wrapping up the first Test against Pakistan today, despite an unbroken century stand between Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq on day three giving the tourists a small glimpse of a record-breaking victory.

The pair took Pakistan to stumps on 183-4, still 297 runs short of an unlikely win, after batting through the first wicketless session of the match after tea.

Misbah was unbeaten on 44 and Shafiq had 53, but with the second new ball due in just five overs, South Africa remain heavy favourites to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

"No team has scored more than 400 on this deck and we don't think they will," South Africa's A. B. de Villiers said. "There are a few cracks opening up and it will swing.

"Hopefully we can finish the game somewhere after lunch (today)."

South Africa would already have been a couple of steps closer to its fourth Test win in a row were it not for a costly no-ball and a dropped catch in consecutive overs.

Shafiq was caught by Graeme Smith at slip on 40 off the bowling of Vernon Philander, only for the umpires to check upstairs where a replay confirmed that the bowler had overstepped.

misbah on point

In the next over, Misbah slashed a Jacques Kallis delivery straight to backward point, but was put down by Robin Peterson.

A wicket for each of South Africa's four seamers had seen the home side edge towards victory after declaring its second innings on 275-3 to set Pakistan 480 to win.

Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Philander and Kallis all claimed a scalp apiece as the Proteas chipped away at Pakistan's batting lineup.

In the morning, South Africa had resumed on their overnight total of 207-3, and De Villiers and Hashim Amla scored at will as they added 68 runs in just 45 minutes. De Villiers went to his 15th Test hundred, leaving him 103 not out when skipper Smith declared immediately. Amla, unbeaten on 74, was denied the opportunity of a 20th Test hundred as the Proteas looked to bring the Test to a swift conclusion.