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Proteas facing surprise defeat to Pakistan

South Africa are in danger of suffering a first Test loss in almost two years after Pakistan took control of the opening Test of two in the United Arab Emirates.

The Proteas’ last five-day defeat was at the Wanderers in November 2011 as Australia shared that series 1-1. Next August they knocked England off the top of the rankings with a 2-0 win.

Graeme Smith’s side are staring at a loss in Abu Dhabi at 72 for four in their second innings, needing 121 more runs to make Pakistan bat again.

That is in part due to Khurram Manzoor hitting Pakistan’s highest Test score versus South Africa, 146 of 442 all out. He was supported by 100 from Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain’s first Test century in over two years.

Manzoor and Misbah started day three on 131 and 44 respectively and extended their stand to 112 until Vernon Philander had the former caught at slip.

Asad Shafiq put poor form behind him with 54 before chipping JP Duminy to midwicket. Misbah went to three figures but two balls later was lbw to Dale Steyn despite a review. Steyn struck twice more as Pakistan’s tail succumbed fairly meekly, latterly yorking Adnan Akmal for 32.

Mohammad Irfan snared Alviro Petersen for the second time in the game and Saeed Ajmal had fellow opener Smith caught behind for 32 in the over before Junaid Khan trapped birthday-boy Jacques Kallis plumb in front for nought.

At the start of the day’s last over, Zulfiqar Babar’s first of the innings, first-innings centurion Hashim Amla was caught behind to leave the Proteas up against it.

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