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South Africa vs Pakistan: 2nd Test, Preview- After tampering fiasco, international cricket returns to the Newlands

The incident will be afresh in the minds of many even after so long.

South African team
South African team. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

It’s been almost nine and a half-months ever since the ball-tampering scandal, involving Australia, at Newlands in Cape Town panned out. After the shambolic incident, the venue is all set to host its first international match when South Africa and Pakistan lock horns in the second Test of the three-match series. The home team, captained by batsman Faf du Plessis, are currently leading the series 1-0.

The opening encounter at the SuperSport Park in Centurion didn’t last for even three days as wickets went down like nine pins. The first two days saw 30 wickets tumble, 15 each on both days. A similar kind of a track at the renowned venue is expected in the upcoming encounter and if that happens, then the batsmen will be in for another stern challenge and bowlers would be licking their fingers.

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Both teams have had their share of injury concerns, but the hosts have managed to gather themselves and are currently brimming with confidence. On the other hand, Sarfraz Ahmed and Co can’t afford complacency by any stretch of the imagination. Their batters flattered to deceive at crunch moments and therefore, despite the bowlers doing well, the visiting team couldn’t evade the drubbing.

Team Combination

South Africa

Speedster Vernon Philander will play tomorrow’s match and hence he may replace Keshav Maharaj provided the Proteas want to go in with an all-pace attack. Dale Steyn wasn’t quite at his best in the last match and he would want to make amends. Their captain du Plessis managed to bag a pair and he would like to shed that disappointment and put his best foot forward in the next contest.

Probable XI

Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Theuinis de Bruyn, Faf du Plessis (C), Temba Bavuma, Dale Steyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier

Pakistan

Pakistan may rope in Mohammad Abbas, who missed the first match due to a shoulder injury, in place of Hasan Ali, who was the least effective among the visitors’ bowlers. The rest of the lineup remains to be the same. Sarfraz didn’t have a great time with the bat in the first match as he couldn’t open his account on both the instances and he needs to buckle down and shoulder his team back on the track.

Probable XI

Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (C & wk), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi

Focus will be on

Vernon Philander- South Africa

Last year, the 33-year-old speedster developed a finger injury owing to which he missed quite a few matches. Nevertheless, his inclusion would be a massive boost for the home also because he has an incredible record in Cape Town. He has four-five wicket hauls in nine matches at an average of 16.55. With a batting average of 33.14, Philander has a decent record with the willow as well at this venue.

Mohammad Amir- Pakistan

The Gujjar Khan-born pacer had a decent match last time around after making a comeback. The 26-year-old picked up four wickets in the first innings but returned wicketless on the second instance. The left-armer lacked consistency at the time he was dropped after the Asia Cup in September. The 26-year-old pacer would be keen to kick-start his new year with some resounding shows with the ball.

Head to Head

Matches – 24 | South Africa won – 13 | Pakistan won – 4 | Draw – 7

Stat Attack

49- Wickets Vernon Philander has picked in nine Tests at the Newlands.

0– Pakistan are yet to win a Test at the Newlands out of 3 attempts. In fact, they lost all three of them with their best performance coming in 2013 when they lost by four wickets.

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD

Live Streaming– Hotstar

Match Timings: 14:00 IST; 10:30 local

Get the latest Cricket News and updates from South Africa vs Pakistan seriesMatch PredictionsFantasy Cricket Tips and lots more on CricTracker.com.

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