Pakistan has gained the primary collection of assessments in opposition to South Africa in 17 years
Issued on: 02/02/2021 – 07:02
Rawalpindi (Pakistan) (AFP)
Pakistan in the new look will try to end the 17-year-old waiting for a series victory against South Africa and overtake the Proteas in the ranking in the second test from Thursday.
The win would be hugely significant to Pakistan, which is hosting its largest series of tests since the 2009 deadly militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team that halted international touring.
Pakistan, whose only win in a row against South Africa in 2003 was at home, starts as favorites after the impressive seven-wicket win in Karachi last week in Rawalpindi.
They will move up two places to fifth in the rankings with a straight win, while a loss would bring South Africa from fifth to sixth.
Debutant Nauman Ali and his co-spinner Yasir Shah were the heroes in Karachi with seven wickets each, along with Fawad Alam, whose century of the first innings made the victory.
First-time captain of Pakistan Babar Azam said the win was desperately needed after falling sharply in both Tests in New Zealand in December and January.
“This win was very important for our group,” said Azam. “The last series in New Zealand didn’t go very well.
“Yes, these are the conditions at home but South Africa are a top test team and it has raised morale to beat them.”
He added: “We told the players to be confident. I don’t want them to put pressure, learn from mistakes and do their best.”
However, Rawalpindi will present a different challenge for both teams as fast bowlers tend to dominate.
When Pakistan defeated Bangladesh there 12 months ago with innings and 44 runs, 20 of the 30 wickets went to fast bowlers.
With this in mind, Pakistan is expected to drop Nauman despite its gates in Karachi and give Paceman Haris Rauf a test debut.
– ‘Not the greatest’ record –
South Africa fought for a long time on the subcontinent, with Karachi the eighth consecutive defeat in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
They lost their last eight wickets for 112 and 60 in the two innings in Karachi, falling for 220 and 245, respectively.
“I know that our record on the subcontinent is not the greatest,” said Captain Quinton de Kock.
“We won a couple of series and I got part of them, but now we want to find a way to change that.”
Seasoned opener Dean Elgar is expected to be ready to play after being hit on the hand in Karachi.
Tourists are likely to drop weirdo George Linde to get one of their fast all-rounders, Wiaan Mulder or Dwaine Pretorius.
Pakistan (from): Babar Azam (Capt), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Tabish Khan
South Africa (from): Quinton de Kock (Capt), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla , Beuran Hendricks, Kyle Verreynne, Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde, Daryn Dupavillon and Marco Jansen
© 2021 AFP