South Africa vs Pakistan: Third Test Preview

Cricket ball sits on pitch

South Africa and Pakistan will clash in the third and final Test at the Wanderers starting on Friday 11 January. 

The Proteas sealed a series win following their nine-wicket win at PPC Newlands on Sunday afternoon.

Pakistan will look to salvage a bit of pride at the Wanderers and will take heart from a much better second innings performance at Newlands. Whether or not they’re able to cope with the South African pace attack in Johannesburg is a different story.

South Africa vs Pakistan | 11 January – 15 January | The Wanderers, Johannesburg

To Win Match
South Africa 3/10
Draw 13/2
Pakistan 9/2

South Africa
There are a couple of concerns for the South Africans heading into the final Test. Both Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla picked up slight injuries at Newlands. Both should be okay to play come Friday, though. Faf du Plessis will definitely miss out following a slow over rate at Newlands, an issue that probably came down to the fact that South Africa went into the fixture with an all-seam attack.

Dean Elgar will probably captain the side in the absence of his Titans teammate with Zubayr Hamza likely to earn his first Test cap. Faf’s suspension will also mean that Theunis de Bruyn will get one more chance to impress in the middle order. The 26-year-old simply hasn’t been able to bring his excellent first-class form into the Test arena. The Wanderers may be his last chance he gets in a long time.

Keshav Maharaj may well miss out again if conditions warrant a four-pronged seam attack. Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Duane Olivier set to start on Friday. If the latter can keep churning out big performances, it’ll leave Ottis Gibson with a few tough decisions to make when Lungi Ngidi returns from injury.

The weather looks pretty good for the five days with the occasional Highveld storm set to affect things in some of the afternoon sessions. We’ll almost certainly get a result here, with the only draw since 2002 coming in 2013 when South Africa came agonisingly close to chasing down India’s 458.

Pakistan’s batsmen endured another first innings capitulation on what was a spicy Newlands track. They ended up being rolled for just 177 before the hosts posted 431 to effectively end the match as a contest.

Mickey Arthur will take heart from their second innings with Shan Masood (61), Asad Shafiq (88) and Babar Azam (72) ensuring that the visitors reached 294 all out to avoid an innings defeat. Arthur made a couple of interesting comments regarding his bowlers and fatigue following the Newlands Test, essentially saying that going into the match with three seamers and a spinner effectively put too much strain on the quicks. This, of course, was the case as South Africa batted for 124 overs in their first innings.

The Pakistani coach may well look to Faheem Ashraf as a fifth bowler. The Kasur native is considered a bowling all-rounder with a first-class average of 30.47. This seems to indicate that he can handle himself pretty well with the bat. The 24-year-old has played three Tests and batted on four occasions, also at an average of 30 and some change.

His inclusion will likely see Fakhar Zaman fall out of the side after scores of 12, 12, 1 and 7 in the series. This will push Masood into an opening berth alongside Imam-ul-Haq with everyone moving up a position. The change will likely bring a better balance to the side, with four seamers and a specialist spinner affording the quicks more time to recover between spells in sapping Johannesburg summer heat.

Verdict: South Africa 3/10
Despite suspension and injury concerns, South Africa have shown exactly why they’re priced up at 3/10 to win at the Wanderers. They’ve won every session in the previous two matches bar one and should complete a series whitewash without too much fuss.

Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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