South Africa v Pakistan LIVE: Proteas take series lead with six-wicket win

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A frustrating day for Pakistan's bowlers.

South Africa have completed a comprehensive six-wicket victory in the first Test against Pakistan at the Centurion.

Chasing a target of 149 for victory in the final innings, the Proteas lost opener Aiden Markram for a duck early on day three in the Boxing Day fixture. By lunch, South Africa had reached 81-1 with a further 68 runs required for a win.

Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar both struck half-centuries before the latter was dismissed by Shan Masood. Theunis de Bruyn was then stumped off the bowling of Yasir Shah before Shaheen Afridi removed Faf du Plessis for a duck.

Earlier on day two, Pakistan had been bowled out for just 190 runs in their second innings following an extraordinary collapse from 101-1. With the hosts holding a 42-run lead in the first-innings, Pakistan’s total was never going to be enough to challenge.

Can the tourists come up with a late fightback in this Test or will the Proteas run away to a 1-0 lead in the three-match series? Follow the ball-by-ball coverage from the Centurion below to find out.

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Latham, Nicholls tons put New Zealand on cusp of crushing win over Sri Lanka

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Mammoth tons from Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls.

Sri Lanka were staring at a comprehensive thrashing in their second Test against New Zealand at Christchurch following mammoth tons from Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls.

Latham followed up his unbeaten double ton in the series opener with a fine 176 at Christchurch to strengthen New Zealand’s grip on the second Test while Nicholls remained unbeaten on a career-best 162 as the hosts declared their second innings at 585-4.

Following an exhausting day on the field for Sri Lanka’s bowlers, their batsmen were put to the test in the final session and fared poorly as both openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne fell cheaply.

The visitors were batting at 24-2 in their second innings when stumps were drawn on Friday.

Earlier, the Kiwi batsmen continued to prosper on day three as Sri Lanka’s bowlers were given the run around. Resuming from their overnight score of 231-2, the hosts lost Ross Taylor (40) early to Lahiru Kumara.

Latham and Nicholls then put on a 214-run stand for the fourth wicket before the former missed out on a second consecutive double ton after being dismissed by Dushmantha Chameera.

A record half-century from Colin de Grandhomme.

A record half-century from Colin de Grandhomme.

There was no respite for the Sri Lankan bowlers despite Latham’s departure with all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme smashing the fastest Test half-century by any New Zealand batsman in history.

Grandhomme got to his fifty off just 28 balls and remained unbeaten on a 45-ball 71 with the help of two sixes and six boundaries.

With a further 636 runs required for victory with eight wickets in hand, the writing seems to be one the walls for the tourists who had escaped with a draw in the first Test of the two-series following the heroics from Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis.

They will need a repeat of that, and a lot more, if they are to pull off another dramatic draw at Christchurch.

BRIEF SCORES

New Zealand: 178 and 585-4/d

Tom Latham: 176 (370)

Henry Nicholls: 162 not out (225)

Sri Lanka: 104 and 24-2

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Pakistan team management denies reports of Mickey Arthur lashing out at senior batsmen

Waseem Ahmed 28/12/2018
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Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has rubbished reports of a strain in relationship between head coach Mickey Arthur and the team’s senior batsmen following the side’s dramatic batting collapse at the Centurion on Thursday.

The tourists were batting at 101-1 in the second innings of the first Test against South Africa with Imam-ul-Haq going strong with a half-century before a remarkable batting collapse ensued.

Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed all fell cheaply to loose strokes as Pakistan eventually folded for just 190 runs.

That collapse put South Africa in command of the Test with the hosts now requiring just 149 runs on day four to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

According to multiple reports by the local Pakistan media, head coach Arthur lashed out at the senior players including Sarfraz and gave them a public dressing down for throwing away their wickets so cheaply.

The South African-born coach was reportedly said to have been incensed by Pakistan’s habit of suffering dramatic collapses following on from their 1-2 loss in the ‘home’ series in the UAE to New Zealand recently.

However, the Pakistan team management has come out to deny the reports and had stated that all is well between the coach and the players.

“As per the norm, Mickey held a debriefing meeting at the end of the day’s play which was held in a cordial atmosphere with inputs from team members and management as is the usual practice,” the team management said in a statement.

“The head coach, team management, captain and all team members are totally united with a singular aim of producing positive results.

“The team manager and rest of the management hopes that media would refrain from speculating on the matter.”

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