PESHAWAR: The second match of the three-match Test series between Pakistan and South Africa will begin today (Thursday) in Cape Town.
The match will begin at 1:30pm (PST). South Africa who are leading the series 1-0, will start the second match as overwhelming favourites after their crushing victory in the first match by six wickets. South Africa have been further boosted with the arrival of Vernon Philander who has a wonderful record at the Newlands ground. Top-ranked Test bowler Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Duanne Olivier troubled Pakistan with their express pace in the first Test and now they are pondering all-pace attack in the second Test.
Although Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has announced to stick to the same top six which played the first match in Centurion, however, Fahim Ashraf may also be included in the squad as an all-round option to boost bowling and batting. However, in that case, Yasir Shah, who did not get much success in the first Test, will have to sit out. But, Newlands pitch is known for its support for spinners and it will be a tricky decision whether to play Yasir or not.
Haris Sohail has been ruled out of the reminder of the series due to a knee injury. Pakistan are also worried over the form of senior batsmen Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed and an improved performance from them will be must for Pakistan to come back in the series. Pakistan will have to play out of their skins to level the series in Newlands, where they have a poor record – three losses in three Tests.
Pakistan will be a happier side in the second match will the arrival of Mohammad Abbas who was missed badly in the first match. With his arrival, either Shaheen Shah Afridi or Hasan Ali, who both bowled well at the Centurion, will be left out.
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.