South Africa will be looking to wrap up the series at Newlands when they take on Pakistan in the second test on Thursday. The Proteas had some stressful moments to endure in the first test at Centurion, but prevailed thanks to Duanne Olivier’s 11 wicket haul and Hashim Amla’s half century in the second innings.
Pakistan had their chances in Pretoria- they allowed the Proteas tail to wag in the first innings (after the hosts had been 43/4 in reply to Pakistan’s 181 all out) and take a valuable 42 run lead and then went from 101/1 to 190 all out in the second.
In South Africa’s tricky fourth innings chase, Amla was dropped early in the innings and Elgar had a reprieve via the third umpire despite the on field umpires ruling Azhar Ali’s catch to be clean. Had both decisions gone Pakistan’s way, the Proteas would’ve been 16/3, but they did not, and the hosts eventually coasted to a six wicket victory.
Vernon Philander missed the first test due to injury but has recovered for the second, and is a certainty in the XI given his fabulous record at Newlands. With Faf du Plessis also confirming that Duanne Olivier would play in Cape Town, the Proteas selectors have a headache as to how to fit in Philander. The options before them would be to
a) Drop an extra batter, possibly Theunis de Bruyn, but would be harsh on him given that he’s been in and out of the squad since his debut and has not been given time to settle
b) Drop Dale Steyn, who overtook Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s record wicket taker. Steyn looked the least threatening of the Proteas bowlers in Centurion despite bowling with venom and regularly hitting speeds of 145
c) Drop the spinner in Maharaj, but that looks unlikely as Newlands is traditionally known to favour spin a bit.
Pakistan have themselves confirmed that Mohammad Abbas will play and they’ll go in with a 3 fast bowlers, 1 spinner combo. That means one of Shaheen, Hasan Ali or Mohd Amir will have to be axed. Sarfaraz also confirmed that their batsmen would be given another chance, which means the likes of Asad Shafiq would not be dropped.
Proteas v Pakistan at Cape Town begins on January 3, 2019.