Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla hit half-centuries as South Africa beat Pakistan by six wickets inside three days in the first Test at SuperSport Park on Friday.
The pair survived some early scares and a controversial umpiring decision and put on 119 for the second wicket before Elgar was caught behind off part-time medium-pacer Shan Masood for 50. Amla finished a year in which he seldom found top form by making 63 not out.
The second Test between Pakistan and South Africa will begin in Cape Town on January 3 but ahead of Pakistan have announced team changes for 2nd test.
Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas is fit and available for the second Test between Pakistan and South Africa starting January 3 in Cape Town.
Abbas, who had been ruled out of the first Test with a shoulder injury he developed in the second Test against New Zealand, will be part of the playing XI for the second Test, sources said.
Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan is also expected to be included in the team for the next match as a middle-order batsman.
According to sources, Rizwan will replace Asad Shafiq who scored a total of 13 runs in both the innings at Centurion.
Moreover, Haris Sohail who missed the first Test with a knee injury is also expected to make a comeback into the team provided he passes the fitness team.
The Proteas have a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series after they cruised to a six-wicket victory over Pakistan at Centurion.
Few takeaways from Pakistan’s avoidable defeat to South Africa:
1- The consolation of playing well in a defeat
In Vernon Philander, their best pacer was injured; in Hashim Amla, their best batsman was horribly out of form; in their last Test series, they had been thoroughly outplayed by a weak Sri Lankan side. South Africa could not have done more to be in the worst shape possible for Pakistan to take the first Test.
The visitors, though competitive, could not make the advantage count. At times it almost felt as if the team was too conscious that they were playing in South Africa and so a defeat, especially in the opening encounter, would be all right.
2- Mis-You replacements missing in action
It doesn’t need a genius to find out whom to pin the blame on. The reason Pakistan lost this game is down to the experienced fellas, the so-called old guard, the supposed Mis-You replacements.
Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq form the backbone of Pakistan’s batting unit and when the backbone doesn’t function, the unit becomes spineless.
The duo contributed a sum total of 49 runs in their combined four innings. That kind of production from the two best batsmen in the side was abysmal to say the least. Better needs doing in the next two Test.
3- Is Sarfraz the weakest link?
While we know that Azhar and Shafiq will eventually come good, unfortunately, there are no such guarantees from the captain, who is now the weakest link and a complete liability in the five-day format.
The ‘pair’ was the latest ignominy to be suffered by Sarfraz, whose batting, particularly on tricky away tours is fast deteriorating. During the tour of Ireland and England, his highest score across three Tests’ five innings was 20. He still is semi-usable on dead UAE pitches but throw a little bit of movement or bounce, and the skipper disappears.
Pakistan squad for South Africa Tests:
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain and wicketkeeper), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi