Deadline: January 26, 10:30 AM IST
Venue: National Stadium, Karachi
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The pacers are likely to get enough purchase on the first two days, although the batsmen may equally have a good time if they choose their shots wisely.
Players to watch out for
Babar Azam is the only Pakistan player to feature in the top of ICC Test Rankings for batsmen. At the venue, he has scores of 60 and 100*. Against South Africa, he has scored 221 runs in 3 Tests including two half-centuries.
Dean Elgar has been South Africa’s most prolific batsman in the past three years. In the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka at home, he collected 253 runs at 126.5. The innings of the series, however, belong to Faf du Plessis. He took only 276 deliveries for his knock of 199 runs. Given he has a reasonable record in the subcontinent, the onus of scoring the bulk of the runs will be on him.
Mohammad Rizwan has been Pakistan’s new sensation in fantasy sports across formats. He scored four consecutive fifties on the New Zealand tour, taking his team out of the woods on most occasions.
Quinton de Kock has an impressive record against Pakistan: he has scores of 45, 59, 18, and 129.
From both teams, Kagiso Rabada is the only bowler in the top 10 ICC Test Rankings. He has been in terrific form since the India T20 League, finishing the tournament as the highest wicket-taker. Against Pakistan, he has sniped up 17 wickets in 3 Tests at 18.7.
All eyes will be on the spinners Yasir Shah and Keshav Maharaj who also have a reputation of scoring handy runs down the order. While Yasir has a hundred in Australia, Maharaj has a half-century in India.
Pakistan: Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shaheen Afridi, Yasir Shah, Nauman Ali, Imran Butt/Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Sarel Erwee, George Linde, Wiaan Mulder, Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj