PAK vs SA: Live Streaming, Match Preview, Timings, Pitch Report and more for 1st Test
Pakistan have a few positives going into this series and none bigger that they will be playing in their home conditions.
Updated - Jan 25, 2021 1:25 pm
For far too long, the ravages of terrorism have left Pakistan reeling and it is nothing short of a shame that a nation as cricket-frenzied as them has lost truckloads of opportunities to misfortune. However, slowly but surely, they have managed to put themselves on the path of a heartening resumption of cricket.
While visits of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe last year were truly a shot in the arm of the cadaver that Pakistan cricket had become, South Africa’s arrival on their home turf will infuse more life in their dormant cricketing edifice. The series that is earmarked as the start of a rather eventful year for Pakistan will also bring South Africa’s 13-year-halt of playing in this shore of the world to an end as they last visited the country during the two-Test series in October 2007.
Both of these are teams that are known as much for what happens to them off the field as on it. However, despite the perpetual turbulence surrounding Cricket South Africa and the mess up around the Black Lives Matter campaign, the visitors will enter into this series on the back of their convincing 2-0 victory in the home series against Sri Lanka. On the other hand, Pakistan was steamrolled by consecutive innings defeat on their New Zealand tour that they lost 0-2. In their defense, however, it was a side sans Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, and a couple more.
Pakistan have a few positives going into this series and none bigger that they will be playing in their home conditions, with Babar Azam – who missed the previous tour due to thumb injury – available. Unlike the bouncy, green tracks of New Zealand, they will be at ease in the conditions best known to them. The series is also a stern test for a man at the helm of affairs in Pakistan cricket: Head Coach Misbah ul Haq, under whose reign losses have piled, and they have won only 2 Tests out of 10.
Misbah has been on the line of fire, receiving severe backlash and strict scrutiny for the way the team has been handled by him. While he has been given another chance by PCB’s cricket committee, who have exempted him owing to the unique circumstances under which cricket has been played in the previous year, it will take nothing less than a win for the team and for him to gratify and appease those seeking his ouster.
Pitch and conditions
The strip at Karachi will offer plenty of assistance for the spinners. The venue hosted a Test after almost a decade of inactivity in December 2019, where visitors, Sri Lanka, were handed a 263-run defeat by the home side. Though there has hardly been any international cricket in Pakistan, the venues have served well for the domestic games. If what has turned out during those fixtures is any indicator, the best batting days will be the first two of the Test.
Playing combinations for PAK vs SA
In what is going to be Babar Azam’s first Test after he has been appointed as Pakistan’s Test skipper, he has a relatively young squad at his disposal as the hosts have named as many as six uncapped players in the 17-man squad. Though it remains to be seen how many of them get a chance. They have opted for four spinners and five pacers including Mohammad Nawaz and Faheem Ashraf as all-rounders. Bolstered by the presence of their batting mainstay Azam, Pakistan in all likelihood will hand a debut to Imran Butt.
Predicted XI: Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Babar Azam (C), Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali/Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali
South Africa’s squad includes most of the players that beat Sri Lanka 2-0 at home, and any tinkering in the batting order seems unlikely. Given the conditions in the sub-continent, they have opted for spinners in Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj, and George Linde, the first two of which are expected to play alongside the back-from-injury Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Wiaan Mulder.
Predicted XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock (C & WK), Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
Head to head PAK vs SA
Played – 26 | PAK – 4 | SA – 15 | Draw – 7
Kagiso Rabada (197) needs 3 more to become the eighth South African bowler to reach the 200 wickets milestone.
Temba Bavuma needs 65 more to reach 2,000 Test runs.
In the only Test played between these two sides in Karachi (2007), South Africa won by 160 runs.
This will be Babar Azam’s first Test as captain.
PAK vs SA Broadcast Details
Match Timings- 10:30 AM (IST)
TV – SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 2 HD
Live Streaming– SONY LIV