PESHAWAR: The first match of the three-match Test series between Pakistan and South Africa will begin today (Wednesday) at the Centurion.
The match will begin at 1:00pm (PST). South Africa will start the match as overwhelming favourites due to their superior ranking and suitable conditions at home ground. Although, two bowlers Philander ad Ngidi are injured, but still the top-ranked Test bowler Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn with their express pace are likely to pose a big challenge to Pakistan who are struggling for form in the longest form of the game. Steyn is just one wicket away to break the record of most Test wickets for South Africa by Shaun Pollock.
Pakistan, after recent Test series defeat from New Zealand in the favourable UAE conditions, will have to play out of their skins to win a Test series first time in South Africa. The injuries to the main bowlers Mohammad Abbas and spinner Shadab Khan have also affected Pakistan’s attack. In such a scenario, Pakistan will depend heavily on Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah. Faheem Ashraf may also be included in the playing eleven as an all-rounder option.
However, Fakhar Zaman has been declared fully fit for the Boxing Day Test and his form will crucial for Pakistan.
The Centurion pitch traditionally supports pace, however, recently spinners also enjoy turn on it. Besides three Tests, Pakistan will also play five ODIs and two T20 during South Africa tour.
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Dane Paterson.
Pakistan squad: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (c, wk), Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi.