South Africa vs Pakistan: 3rd Test, Preview- Visitors desperate to salvage pride against Du Plessis-less Proteas
Pakistan have only played three Tests at this ground and have lost two of them.
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The ongoing Test series between South Africa and Pakistan has dished out some competitive cricket over the last few days. However, it’s the home team, which has been able to take an unassailable lead of 2-0 after winning the first two matches in Centurion and Cape Town respectively. Sarfraz Ahmed’s men did well in the warm-up match prior to the series, but couldn’t carry the momentum into the Tests.
In the first Test at SuperSport Park, Pakistan were in the match for a significant amount of time. Unfortunately, the Proteas’ bowlers turned out to be a tough nut to crack. The hosts were even more convincing at Newlands as it was their batsmen, who managed to take them to the triumph. Pakistan did well with the bat in the second innings to avoid an innings defeat but eventually couldn’t evade a drubbing.
Sarfraz’s men are now scheduled to play the third and final Test at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg and would be looking to salvage some pride. Their last appearance at this venue was back in 2013 when South Africa detonated the Misbah-ul-Haq led side by a mammoth 211 runs. The Proteas, on the contrary, would want to maintain dominance over their opponents and clean sweep them.
Aiden Markram injured his thigh in Cape Town and he may make way for Pieter Malan, who would open with Dean Elgar, the stand-in skipper. Zubayr Hamza is also likely to make his debut and would replace Faf du Plessis, who has been handed a one-match suspension for slow over-rate. The bowling lineup, consisting of the likes of Philander, Rabada, Steyn and Olivier, won’t be tinkered by any means.
Aiden Markram/Pieter Malan, Dean Elgar (C), Hashim Amla, Theuinis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Temba Bavuma, Dale Steyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier
The visitors may drop Fakhar Zaman, who has had troubles facing the short ball. Imam-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali will open the batting. The onus would also be on the in-form Shan Masood. Shafiq, skipper Sarfraz and Babar Azam also need to step up and deliver. Hasan Ali may come in place of left-arm speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi. They are also likely to give Shadab Khan an opportunity and rest Yasir Shah.
Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (C & wk), Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas
Focus will be on
Dale Steyn- South Africa
The 35-year-old has fond memories of playing at this ground against Pakistan. Back in 2013, he picked up the Man of the Match award, having notched 11 wickets and conceded only 60 runs in 36.5 overs. In the ongoing series, after an indifferent outing in Centurion, the right-arm fast bowler inflicted some body blows in Cape Town. On a potential bowling-friendly wicket, Steyn would be licking his fingers.
Azhar Ali- Pakistan
Ali is one of their more experienced batsmen, but he hasn’t quite been able to deliver. With an average of 43, the 33-year-old has played several match-winning hands for his team. Nevertheless, the Lahore-born has only been able to score 44 runs in the series at an average of 11. Pakistan’s batting has strained in the series and Ali would want to get a substantial score and resurrect the team’s wretched fortunes.
Head to Head
Matches – 25 | South Africa won – 14 | Pakistan won – 4 | Draw – 7
246- Runs Shan Masood needs to accomplish 1000 Test runs.
2- Wickets Dale Steyn needs to complete 50 wickets at The Wanderers. He has 48 wickets in nine matches at the venue.
TV – Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming– Hotstar
Match Timings: 13:30 IST; 10:00 local