Pakistan close on first test victory over South Africa

Pakistan maintained their stranglehold on the first test against South Africa in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, going to lunch on the fourth day needing just four more wickets to secure a shock innings victory over test cricket’s top-ranked side.

South Africa crawled to 130 for six at the interval, still trailing by 63 runs, as Pakistan continued to dominate a match they have controlled from the opening day at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

AB de Villiers, who scored a then South African record 278 not out against Pakistan on the same ground thee years ago, was attempting to launch a salvage operation as he edged past 50 but the loss of night watchman Dale Steyn and then JP Duminy severely dented his team’s chances of survival.

South Africa needed to launch a major fightback with the bat at the start of the fourth day after resuming on 72-4 but Steyn made just seven runs before being bowled by debutant Zulfiqar Baber and was quickly followed back to the pavilion by Duminy.

Pakistan seamer Junaid Khan trapped Duminy lbw in front of the stumps for a duck and next batsman Faf du Plessis played several nervy shots as he reached eight not out at lunch.

Pakistan set themselves up for victory on Wednesday after a strong batting display saw them reach 442, establishing a daunting lead of 193 after South Africa won the toss and elected to bat but could only manage 249 first up.

South Africa, who went top of the test rankings last year after a series win in England, have not lost in 11 tests since Sri Lanka beat them in Durban in December 2011.