South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town February 13, 2013

Pakistan look to move on from Wanderers horror


Match facts

February 14-18, 2013
Start time 1030 local (0830 GMT)

Big picture

Were Pakistan really Test-ready ahead of the Wanderers Test? Going by their first-innings capitulation for 49 - their lowest Test score - certainly not.

When you're up against the No.1 side in the world, you want to give your players enough time to acclimatise and adjust to the seamer-friendly conditions. A solitary warm-up game in East London wasn't enough. With the first Test starting nearly three weeks after the India tour ended, there were suggestions that Pakistan could have arrived in South Africa earlier, and probably squeezed in another warm-up. Mohammad Hafeez had stated recently that Pakistan needed more Tests in their calendar to get some momentum going. For a team that last played a Test in July, their preparation ahead of the Wanderers was inadequate. They were caught short against the moving ball and the captain Misbah-ul-Haq said Dale Steyn was too much for his batsmen to handle.

Their opposition in the warm-up between Tests - the Emerging Cape Cobras - may not have been the strongest, but it was an opportunity to rectify those technical glitches, and Younis Khan was the only batsman to score a fifty. The pitch at Newlands is expected to give Pakistan some relief, as it is expected to favour the batsmen more than the Wanderers strip did. What Pakistan need to show is resilience, and since Misbah took over, they've shown plenty of that.

South Africa have no such concerns and will look to wrap up the series at their strongest home venue. Graeme Smith, who led South Africa to the top of the rankings, will be playing his 100th Test as captain of his country. Their decision not to rotate their bowlers, unlike Australia, indicated they're hungry to close out the series as soon as possible. The early finish at the Wanderers gave them an extra day's rest.

Form guide

South Africa WWWWD
Pakistan LDDLW

In the spotlight

Sarfraz Ahmed was preferred ahead of Adnan Akmal as the wicketkeeper for the Tests, for reasons not properly explained. Though his keeping was tidy at the Wanderers, he had a poor game with the bat, scoring 2 and 6. As the lone specialist keeper in the squad, coupled with the absence of the Akmal brothers, his place in the line-up doesn't look in danger, but Pakistan will need better contributions from him as a lower-order batsman. It would be unfair to write Sarfraz off too quickly, since he had played just one Test prior to the Wanderers since his international debut in 2007. The forthcoming Tests present an opportunity to establish himself in the squad as the first-choice keeper.

Robin Peterson was a forgotten man during Pakistan's collapse for 49, because he wasn't required. Though he got 10 overs in the second innings, he returned wicketless. He admitted that it can be lonely as a spinner in these conditions: "It's no fun sometimes being the spinner in South Africa and you go through periods of play where you don't even bowl." He is unlikely to be made redundant in Newlands, though, with the pitch expected to give more assistance to the spinners compared to the one at the Wanderers.

Team news

There was bad news for Pakistan on the eve of the Test, with the left-arm seamer Junaid Khan in doubt as he is yet to recover from a thigh injury. Mohammad Irfan, the 7ft left-armer who toured India recently, was anyway in line for a Test debut after his seven-wicket haul in the warm-up. Pakistan's coach Dav Whatmore hinted at playing an additional spinner, Abdur Rehman, which means Rahat Ali, who went wicketless in the first Test, may have to make way.

Pakistan: (probable) 1 Mohammed Hafeez, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Umar Gul, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 and 11 Junaid Khan/ Mohammad Irfan/Rahat Ali

South Africa will play an unchanged line-up.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers (wk), 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Dean Elgar, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Robin Peterson, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel

Pitch and conditions

The pitch was watered on Tuesday night and a fair amount of grass was shaved off. There are small hints of green and it looks the usual, good Newlands strip. It was expected to be a 'grafting' surface, something the batsmen should enjoy. There is a possibility of rain tomorrow so a delayed start is likely.

Stats and trivia

  • Since their readmission to Test cricket, South Africa have a 17-3 win-loss record in Cape Town, with all three defeats coming against Australia. Since their last defeat to Australia in 2006, they've won seven out of ten Tests, and drawn the other three. Overall, South Africa have won 20 Tests here, six more than their next-best venue (The Wanderers - 14 wins)

  • Jacques Kallis has scored 2158 runs in 21 Tests at Newlands, at an average of 77.07, with nine centuries in 33 innings. In his last six Tests here he has scored five hundreds, including his highest of 224 against Sri Lanka in 2012.

  • Pakistan have lost to South Africa every time they've played in Cape Town: South Africa have won both Tests and all four ODIs.

  • Dale Steyn is one wicket away from becoming the highest wicket-taker in Tests in Cape Town. Steyn is currently tied on 53 with Makhaya Ntini. While Ntini took his wickets in 13 Tests at an average of 29.09, Steyn has taken 53 in ten Tests at 20.98.


"The more accolades there are, the more expectation there is on me. I woke up before the Wanderers Test at 4am dreaming I had got a pair."
Graeme Smith on captaining South Africa for the 100th time, at Newlands.

"I am really confident that these guys can fight back. Whenever we've had tough times, we have been able to come out of it."
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on February 14, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    This time Pakistan not going to be all out in 49. Already reached 50+ . congrats! lets party...

  • shyam on February 14, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    Kamran Abdul Jabbar..haha..yoiu are aksing to stand one feet front ..and they are thinking of standing behid the wqicket to avoid fast and furious..

  • Ankur on February 14, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    I agree SA current bowling line up is very good but they are not unplayable..Aussis shown this in last series . all bowlers were all around of park ..aussies scored more than 400 run in a day against same bowling line up. Pakistan Just need to be care ful when playing the new ball once ball is old...attack SA bowlers like anything ...they will in pressure then..the only key is how well you play first 30 overs....and how fast you score in overs between 30 to 80. Pakistan should target according to it. make some new strategy...use bowlers to play the new bowl once ball is old..PAk can attack.

  • Ankur on February 14, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    @Bartk--I don't understand why you talked about India and Sachin in your comment. novemeber is very far from here who knows if Sachin find his form till then and SA bowlers will all around the Park or Sachin might be retired till then. I dont think you will say Sachin is not capable of playing Steyn...he played well in last series in SA...bowler were same that time too...and Sachin scored 200 in ODI facin steyn and lets dont talk about that SA will thrsh Inida by same margin..lets dont talk about future...plz comment on ongoing series.....that would be better. we will see you in Nov...and you can comment then.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    junaid is not there, so its good for PAK, he didn't bowled well at all. he was a foot shorter in his lenghts, and he can get wickets on flat tracks when batsmen are tired under humid conditons. SA has a good wheather and players are super fit so he has no chance. I think in 1st innings SA openrs had an extra cautious approach at him otherwise he is a 5 an over bowler in tests, younus bolwed better then him. Umer gul never became a bolwer of any level at any stage of his career, and club bowlers like irfan or rahat are of no use. So PAK should play with there strength that is spin and keep things tight with them. SA is an attacking team and surely they will loose patience at some stage. thats what PAK has been doing lately. as far baitting is concerned you cant say or blame them as you can expect anything from them, there is no quality batsmen in PAK side, so DALE or whoever bowl or pitch any where, PAK batsmen will be gifiting wicktes to SA. Result:-Daythree @ tea= SA won, Series=2-0

  • francois on February 14, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Pak should try for draw, then try for a win last match...that is the only hope...survival in this match, with luck it may rain a bit too...otherwise could eb ove rin 2 and half to see kallis move to No3 on all time run list, as wel as getting 6 to 7 wickets, then he can try and go to 300 wickets in last match...would be nice...

  • Hammad on February 14, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    I would like to see pakistan team fighting....being realistic and given circumstances..its very hard to imagine pak team overcoming only hope is they show some fight with the bat and improve a bit...they always struggle against swing if they do again wont be surprised...SA attack is too good in these conditions...i m looking forward to see them bowl in less bowling friendly conditions

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    Why ICC is not arranging more test matches for pakistan . Pakistan is having a test series after 7 months .They have to apply the practice makes man perfect 's rule. More t20s and odis will destroy their patience of test matches.

  • Furqan on February 14, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    My playing XI for 2nd test : 01) Hafeez. 02) Nasir Jamshed. 03) Imran Farhat. 04) Younis Khan. 05) Misbah. 06) Asad Shafiq. 07) Sarfraz Ahmed. 08) Umar Gul. 09) Junaid Khan. 10) Irfan. 11) A. Rehman. Should Azhar out for Farhat and rahat out for Irfan and pls dont surprise for Ajmal bcoz he is handy bowler in subcontinent and supporting pitches i self beleive he is not able to tak wickets against SA but i personally feel A. Rehman much better danger than Ajmal specially against South african batting in their home conditions i should want to pick him in XII for second test and Pakistan will win second test with this combination. Good Luck Pak and specially to selectors for choose right options for 2nd test if they want to win

  • prashant on February 14, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    no doubt south africa will win this series 3-0