PRETORIA, South Africa — For five days, Oscar Pistorius endured a withering cross-examination at his murder trial from a prosecutor who pounced on apparent inconsistencies in his testimony. Yet, legal analysts said Tuesday, expert witnesses who will testify for the defense could undermine the prosecution’s efforts to prove Pistorius killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on purpose after an argument.

The demeanor of the Olympian, often fumbling for answers and occasionally breaking into sobs, contrasted with that of prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who called Pistorius a liar and unleashed volleys of barbed questions. Social media buzzed that Pistorius is in deep trouble – a South African talk show host wryly observed that the double-amputee runner had not “covered himself with glory” when his cross-examination ended Tuesday – but experts said the trial has a long way to go.

“Until the defense presents the rest of their case, you can’t really evaluate the significance of any potential concessions that he may have made,” said Kelly Phelps, a senior lecturer in the public law department at the University of Cape Town.

The trial, which began March 3 and is expected to hear testimony until mid-May, reached a key stage last week when Pistorius took the stand to testify about the circumstances of Steenkamp’s killing. The Paralympic champion, 27, says he shot the 29-year-old model through a closed toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.