After bowling Pakistan out in the second innings at the end of day three at Newlands in Cape Town, the umpires appeared not to allow an extra half hour of play despite sunshine to allow the Proteas to knock off the 40-run lead the visitors managed to make.
However, it later emerged that South Africa opted to call it a day.
Not long earlier, the crowd and players believed Vernon Philander had taken the last wicket before 6pm, but it was judged to be a no-ball, so the surprised players had to retake the field after walking off.
The last wicket was eventually taken by Kagiso Rabada, who took four wickets in the match, but the officials ruled play would not continue.
Quinton de Kock had been primed to attempt to smash his way to victory, as only 25 runs were needed at that stage.
Pakistan put up a valiant rearguard batting effort to prevent the Proteas completing back-to-back three-day wins in the Castle Lager Test match at PPC Newlands.
In the end, they just succeeded in wiping out the Proteas massive first-innings advantage of 254 runs.
Aiden Markram suffered a bruised thigh while fielding, giving uncapped substitute fielder Zubayr Hamza the chance to take his maiden catch in Test cricket, and is unlikely to bat in the second innings. The Proteas have a more than adequate back-up opening batsman in Quinton de Kock.
In spite of Pakistan’s resistance, the Proteas might well have finished the game inside three days as Pakistan had a lead of only 24 runs when Vernon Philander took what appeared to be the visitors’ final wicket. But the umpires checked with the third umpire for a no ball which was duly confirmed, giving Pakistan the chance to extend their innings sufficiently to ensure play went into the fourth day.
At one stage it looked as though Pakistan might even set the Proteas a challenging target when Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq put together an exhilarating display of batting that saw the visitors score 140 runs off 25 overs in the afternoon session.
When the pair were parted they had shared a stand of 132 which was only one short of the Pakistan third-wicket partnership record against South Africa.
Steyn made the key breakthrough in getting rid of Masood (61 off 110 balls, 9 fours) and, when Asad followed 35 runs later to Philander it sparked off what has become an all too familiar middle and lower order collapse with 5 wickets falling for 53 runs.
Babar Azam did his best to rally the tail and farm the strike before being the ninth man out to Kagiso Rabada (72 off 87 balls, 15 fours).
Rabada (4/61) and Steyn (4/85) did the bulk of the damage.
The Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) has benefited to the tune of R415 000 from the number of fours and sixes hit and wickets taken by the two sides in the series with the running tally for the current match being R210 000.
The players on both sides score income for the fund by hitting boundaries (R1 000) and sixes (R2 000) and taking wickets (R2 500). – African News Agency (ANA)