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South Africa vs Pakistan 2018-19, 2nd Test: Preview and predicted playing XI

ANALYST
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1.14K   //    02 Jan 2019, 23:15 IST

South Africa would look to bank on momentum in the second Test
South Africa would look to bank on momentum in the second Test

After defeating Pakistan by six wickets in the opening Test at Centurion, hosts South Africa will aim to seal the series in the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday, January 3.

The two teams have played 24 Test matches against each other, with 13 of those having been won by the Proteas, four by Pakistan, and the rest ending in draws.

South Africa have a flawless record against Pakistan at the Newlands Stadium in the longest format, with the hosts emerging victorious on all occasions. In their most recent meeting at this venue back in February 2013, South Africa defeated the visitors by four wickets.

South Africa's perspective

Newlands has been no less than a fortress for the African nation. The fact that they have faced defeat just once in their last 17 Tests played here, will certainly give a big boost to their confidence.

Batting

Dean Elgar top-scored for the hosts with 72 runs in the first Test, and he will once again be the key batsman. He together with Hashim Amla, who scored 71 runs, will be expected to get the team off to a decent total.

Quinton de Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis are among the consistent batsmen in the middle order, and the team will depend heavily on them in case of a top order collapse.

Bowling

The South African bowling was supremely effective in the first game, and none of their frontline bowlers provided any room for the opponents to score easily. Duanne Olivier was the pick of the lot at Centurion with 11 wickets in the match, and he will be expected to replicate his performance in the next fixture.

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Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada shared nine wickets between them, and it's easy to see them strangle the Pakistani batsmen in the second Test too.

Expected Playing XI

Faf du Plessis (C), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn, Duanne Olivier, Quinton de Kock (W), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn.

Pakistan's perspective

Pakistan would aim to end their Newlands drought
Pakistan would aim to end their Newlands drought

Pakistan find themselves under considerable pressure having lost the opening game, and they must win or draw this game to keep themselves alive in the series. To add to their difficulties is the fact that their previous record at this venue is quite brutal; they have never won a Test here.

Batting

Pakistan's batting miseries on seam-friendly wickets continued as most of their batsmen faltered against the Proteas in the opening encounter; the team failed to cross the 200 run mark in either innings.

The only players to show some resistance against the threatening pace attack were Shan Masood, Babar Azam and Imam ul Haq. All three batsmen managed to register 50s in the match, and the visitors will need them to continue their good form at Newlands.

They will also have a lot of hopes on their opener Fakhar Zaman to set up a solid platform at the start. In the middle-order, the experienced Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali would need to provide strong contributions or else it'll once again be a cakewalk for the hosts.

Bowling

In this department, Pakistan found a rare positive in the name of Shaheen Shah Afridi, who chipped in with five wickets in the low-scoring encounter. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed will back him to replicate his spells in the second Test.

Apart from Afridi, the duo of Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali are the key figures in this bowling lineup. The team will expect them to chip in with a few early breakthroughs and rock the South African top order.

Expected playing XI

Sarfraz Ahmed (C & W), Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam.


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