South Africa beat Pakistan by an innings and 18 runs on Sunday for a 3-0 series whitewash as the world’s top-ranked team ended its test season in dominant form.

The Proteas bowled out the tourists for 235 in their second innings late on the third day of the final test. South Africa had made 409 batting first at Supersport Park and then blew Pakistan out for 156 in its first innings, with debutant seam bowler Kyle Abbott taking 7-29.

Dale Steyn took 4-80 in the second innings and was backed up by Abbott (2-39) and Rory Kleinveldt (2-33), ensuring the South Africans didn’t have to bat again.

South Africa has won six series and now six matches in a row and last lost a test series in March 2009.

Earlier, a half-century partnership between Sarfraz Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal temporarily held Pakistan together after South Africa took four wickets after lunch to reduce the tourists to 176-6 in their second innings.

Pakistan still trailed by 77 runs at the tea break after following on as South Africa closed in on victory, a series sweep and its sixth straight test victory.

Azhar Ali was run out for 27 to begin the afternoon slide as Pakistan went from 87-2 at the lunch break to 114-6 before Ahmed and Ajmal combined for an innings-steadying and unbeaten 62-run stand for the seventh wicket. Pakistan was still facing an uphill task to save the match and avoid losing the series against the top-ranked test team 3-0.

South Africa made 409 batting first in the final test and bowled the Pakistanis out for 156 in their first innings to power toward a whitewash. South Africa also won the tests in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Dale Steyn ran out Ali and had 2-43 on Sunday, while Rory Kleinveldt had 2-33 to push South Africa toward another victory in its red-hot streak of form.

Imran Farhat made 43, hitting five fours before he fell to a catch behind by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers off debutant fast bowler Kyle Abbott.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq went in the next over to Kleinveldt as Pakistan lost those two wickets without adding a run. Asad Shafiq gave Kleinveldt his second wicket when he scooped a catch to Vernon Philander at mid-off to expose Pakistan’s long tail to the Proteas’ potent quick bowling attack.

But Ahmed, who was 29 not out, and Ajmal (30 not out), reacted with a flurry of attacking shots for their half-century partnership as Pakistan held back the tide. Ahmed hit five fours, while spin bowler Ajmal connected for four fours and a six in his 30 from 48 balls.

Pakistan had held off South Africa for most of the opening session of the third day of the third test, losing just one wicket to go to lunch on 87-2 in its second innings.

Steyn took the only wicket of the morning session at Supersport Park, forcing an edge from Younis Khan (11) through to Graeme Smith at first slip. The rest of the Proteas’ bowling attack was kept wicketless to start the third day, and on a pitch where numerous deliveries bounced and seamed prodigiously to rear up at the batsmen. Their partnership was worth 54 before Ali foolishly got himself run out in the second over after lunch after a powerful throw from the outfield from Steyn.

That sparked Pakistan’s mini-collapse as it lost 4-27 after lunch before Ahmed and Ajmal came together.

Debutant seam bowler Abbott took 7-29 on the second day of the final test the second best test figures by a South African on debut as Pakistan was forced to follow on with a deficit of 253 runs. South Africa’s 409 batting first was set up by a century from wicketkeeper batsman AB de Villiers and 92 from Hashim Amla.

Top-ranked South Africa is unbeaten in its last 11 test series and has won six in a row after beating Sri Lanka at home a year ago. The Proteas were also closing in on a second straight whitewash following a 2-0 win over New Zealand last month.

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