Chasing a paltry target of 149 for victory on day three, the Proteas romped to a comfortable win following half-centuries from Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla.
The Pakistan bowlers started strongly on day three with Hasan Ali dismissing opener Aiden Markram for a duck. The Pakistan pacer then saw Fakhar Zaman drop a sharp chance off Hashim Amla at third slip as South Africa breathed a sigh of relief.
The tourists then thought they had captured a second wicket when Dean Elgar knicked a Shaheen Afridi delivery towards the slip cordon. A tumbling Azhar Ali claimed the catch at second slip with the on-field umpires referring the decision to the television umpire.
Despite the soft signal being out, the decision was overturned much to the dismay of Pakistan’s fielders.
From then on, Amla and Elgar made the most of their reprieves as they stitched together a 119-run stand for the second wicket. Both the batsmen had their moments of luck on a spicy pitch but their respective half-centuries ensured a comfortable chase for the hosts.
By the time Elgar was dismissed for 50 by the part-time spin of Shan Masood, the match had already veered towards its inevitable conclusion.
The visitors did manage to pick up two more wickets in the form of Theunis de Bruyn and South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis but it wasn’t enough as the Proteas completed victory with six wickets to spare in the end.
The two sides will now meet in the second Test of the series which gets underway on January 3 at Newlands, Cape Town.
Pakistan: 181 and 190
South Africa: 223 and 151-4
Hashim Amla: 63 not out
Dean Elgar: 50
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.
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.
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.
New Zealand: 178 and 585-4/d
Tom Latham: 176 (370)
Henry Nicholls: 162 not out (225)
Sri Lanka: 104 and 24-2