3 Positives for Pakistan from the South Africa Test series
Having suffered a Test series defeat against New Zealand in UAE, Pakistan had a big task ahead of them as they played South Africa away from home. Coming into the hosts' country, Pakistan knew that they would have to face the music and get better at the longer format.
To nobodies surprise, the hosts dominated the whole Test series with ease. Pakistan had to face the venomous bowling of South African pacers including a new face, Duanne Olivier. And they, most of the time, failed to cope with short balls.
The absence of Lungi Ngidi from the squad due to injury proved blessing in disguise. The man who wasn't supposed play a single game turned out to be the man of the series for South Africa.
Olivier troubled Pakistani batsmen, most of all Azhar Ali, to help his team getting the upper hand. He bagged 24 wickets in three Tests and deservedly was awarded man of the series.
The two seniors of the team, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, who were pegged to be the replacements of Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan, didn't step up in the series. Asad Shafiq did hit some good runs bit couldn't carry on from that.
No Pakistani batsman hit a century on this tour which resulted in the horrible whitewash. Amidst those crises, two Pakistan batsman, Babar Azam and Shan Masood, showed seniors the way. Though Pakistan has not won a Test series in 9 months but here the few positives Pakistan can carry forward in the future.
It was an obvious assumption that Pakistan were to struggle in South Africa due to their low run-rate. But to everyone's surprise, in South Africa Pakistan's batsmen maintained it over 3 runs per over easily in the series, mostly touching 4 runs per over.
The problem for Pakistan was in the quick fall of wickets. Pakistan could not keep up the momentum as they lost wickets in quick succession, but their run-rate was a thing they'll want to carry on with.