Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13

Peterson declared fit for opener

Firdose Moonda

January 30, 2013

Comments: 74 | Text size: A | A

Robin Peterson claimed two wickets in his first over, South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 2nd day, January 12, 2013
Despite his recent injury, Robin Peterson remains SA's No. 1 spinner but could be left out for an all-pace attack at the Wanderers © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Morne Morkel | Robin Peterson
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of South Africa

South Africa's only injury concern ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, Robin Peterson, has been declared fit and available for selection. Peterson tore the webbing between his third and little finger on his right hand during the first ODI against New Zealand 11 days ago and received stitches for the cut.

Although it was not his bowling hand that was affected, Peterson was unable to hold a bat or catch and Imran Tahir was added to the Test squad as cover. Peterson's recovery has gone according to plan though and he will remain South Africa's first-choice spinner for the match. Even so, do not be surprised if the hosts are considering fielding an all-pace attack for the first Test against Pakistan.

With a lot of grass left on one of the liveliest surfaces in the country two days before the match, South Africa may see the series opener as a way to lay down a marker, especially as they have part-timers Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar in their ranks. But, they will need to be wary that Pakistan will look to do exactly the same.

The country's biggest stadium has not hosted a Test since November 2011 and it will be the bowlers that are most looking forward to the outing. "For me, it's very special, even just training here and having a run around at the Bullring," Morne Morkel said. "When I came and watched games here as a youngster, it was always special but it's also the sort of wicket that I enjoy bowling on. It suits my game."

While bounce is the feature everyone from Morkel to Saeed Ajmal will look forward to, it's the impact the more than two metre tall Mohammed Irfan can have that is most anticipated. If he plays, Irfan will be the tallest Test cricketer around and Morkel, who is probably the second-tallest, had some advice for the rookie.

"Obviously, his advantage is going to be bounce but to get that fuller length going, especially at the Wanderers is going to be the key," he said. "I find that on the bounce batsmen can leave you on length. The most important thing is to find a way to hit that fuller length consistently and at good pace. Where I have gone wrong is that as soon as I try to get fuller, I just put the ball there instead of still hitting the deck."

Morkel spotted the Australian team making use of some unusual equipment such as a box for their bowlers to stand on to replicate height and practice facing Morkel but he said South Africa's batsmen have done nothing of the sort and have "solid gameplans" even though they, like anyone else, may be intimidated by the sight of Irfan.

"If you speak to any batters around the world, a guy that is two metres tall and the amount of bounce he can get is a scary thing," Morkel said. "It's not about the amount of pace but it's the awkward bounce from quite a fullish length."

Morkel is one of the best executioners of that skill and while the South African batsmen are preparing to face it, he is gearing up to dish it out. Bouncing sub-continental line-ups out of the game is a common tactic of South Africa's when playing at home but Morkel is expecting Pakistan to put up stiff resistance.

He last played against them in late 2010 in a two-Test series in the United Arab Emirates. On lifeless pitches, South Africa were unable to bowl Pakistan out to win the match on both occasions which taught Morkel a little about their staying power. "They've got guys that can attack upfront and have guys in the middle that can bat time as well," he said. "They are not just going to be a team that can be flashy. It's hard work."

"They've got some experience with Younis Khan and Misbah in the middle. They are key guys that we need to target and get out quite early because can bat time." The pair were both not out at the end of the first Test in Dubai and Misbah was undefeated at the end of the second fixture as well.

"They are a dangerous team, they can always counterpunch and fight back. It's going to be important for us not to relax."

The series is expected to contrast starkly with the one South Africa have just played against New Zealand. Both matches were innings victories for South Africa and the series lasted a total of six days. While Morkel enjoyed dominating in that fashion, he prefers a tight contest and expects that to come over the next month.

"When you beat a team in three days, you get extra time to rest but there is nothing better than walking out there for five days and really feeling the blood, sweat and tears and enjoying that moment with the team," he said. "That's Test cricket, that's what you want to play for and what you wish for: for it to be as tough and hard as possible. That brings the team more together as well."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mahjut on (January 31, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

the "elephant" in the room must be defined more clearly too: Amir has Morkel type averages while Asif's - although below 25 - played Oz in Oz and Eng in Eng at the 'end of his career' and ave'd 30 over those 7 tests! one can only assume he was on his way out at that time [well, one using lil'tom's method of investigation]. of course, junaid makes up the 3rd party in her fantasy Pk bowling line-up (he's so far only taken SL wickets - apart from the solitary Zim wkt @64ave). not exactly an elephant. PK still manage to produce world class bowlers though and this PK attack may still offer a surprise or two ... though one might venture to say they have not been genuinely tested in a good 2 years! As far as SA in Oz goes; what makes SA stand head above the rest at the moment is the ability to know when to strike ... aware their bats can defend a game why would their bowlers break their backs (only to miss the final test) on wkts offering nothing? Wait ... strike ... series!!

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 31, 2013, 17:01 GMT)

LillianThomson: Familiarity with local conditions is absolutely necessary but the rest factor can't be ignored either. From my personal experience of whatever little cricket I used to play in my playing days, I tend to play well whenever I had a good fews days of rest as compared to playing regularly. Of course its different for different players, some might be more comfortable playing regularly but I think for most players the required amount of energy level is more crucial than having that rhythm going before the start of the series.

Posted by Jmufti on (January 31, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

My only concern is Irfan's fitness, I dont think he'll be able to bowl longer spells (anything more than 4-5 overs). Junaid looks a lot more fit and probably has more ability. SA looks better outfit in all disciplines but even they are pron to middle order collapse, a good spell from Gul, Junaid or Ajmal and Pak in business!In terms of batting, Nasir looks in got form and has pretty much all the shots in the book, hope he performs well...key would be to see off Morkel and Steyn's opening spell and then score runs with semi old ball. I cant wait for series to start, anticipating quality cricket and as @crashed said: May the best team win:)

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 31, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

LillianThomson:"You would wish for a greentop, and to win the toss to insert South Africa, and bowl them out for less than 180 on Day 1. It's not Pakistan's best hope - it's their only hope." NAILED IT, I also dont see any other way of Pakistan winning but since watched them roll over india on dead pitches, i'd say there is a very good chance of Pak quick bowlers succeeding in restricting SA to a getable total.

Posted by mahjut on (January 31, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

Lil'Tom ... what criteria are you using to conclude that this is a horribly weak era for batting and bowling? I can see how one might mistakenly reach that conclusion about bowlers due to deflated averages ... though Steyn and Vern have kept that to under 25 (i would say you can take off 5 from current bowlers averages to get a comparison with the 'OZ' era). You might again mistakenly conclude that batting these days is extraordinarily good with the likes of Kallis, Sanga, etc racking up averages easily above 55 [S Waugh and Hadyn were around 50] but you've concluded the other way despite SA having 50 averages pretty much from 1 though 6 [Smith, Amla, AB, Kallis, Faf] ... while others from the great Oz side (against mostly ordinary attacks - new bowlers aside, in a couple of teams) were averaging 41 (Mark Waugh), 45ish (Martyn) 42ish (Slater). It's quite hard to judge what is 'quite good' 'good' 'very good' 'great' but these averages probably suggest SA edge Waugh's Oz side ;)

Posted by dogcatcher on (January 31, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

@Little Ian, give it a break. History will show Oz lost the series 1 - 0. U can gloss over statistics all u want, to try & make an arguement, however the series was lost!

Lets focus on the current prospect, rather more exciting than watching a brilliant Clarke keeping an abysmal Oz side afloat. Pakistan are the most underrated side in the world. Given they don't play at home, how good have they been! On paper how exciting do the look!

I for one can't wait to see their new talent & some old on display. They have a veritable conveyor belt of quality players. On paper SA is the more established & slightly better balanced side (not sure about Elgar), but with such great show stoppers in their ranks I would never right off Pakistan.

The Pakistani batting has more mettle than in the past but is still a slight weakness. With Smith now becoming the first ever skipper to skipper past 100 I would say the incentive is their for SA to win.

I can't wait.

Posted by Xain.Yousfani on (January 31, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

Only thing that i have to say, if any one to loose is SA, because pakistan has already lost this series as i could see comments from South African fans.. we have all seen SA pace attack bowling in their own backyard and they are pretty much good at it, but i guess no body has seen junaid playing on bowling friendly wickets much.. You could see what happened to india when the bowling was swinging and seeming. I guess one might not forget the performance of junaid khan bowling in Irish conditions, he could be very devastating. Talking about pakistan batting.. u could never say they are bad, Misbah is key along with yunus, and watch out for naser jamshaid, no doubt amla is a run machine but our naser jamshaid is hungry for runs .. :P

Be carefull Africans you are not fighting with black caps here .. You would be fighting with green caps and u already know, how pakistani players are...

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

@SherjiIslam, I don't think you have noticed the passage of Old Father Time.

Jacques Kallis is still an excellent batsman, and I don't dispute that for a second, although some day soon that will desert him too.

But he hasn't been a Test all-rounder for several years, because 37.5 year old fast bowlers don't have a place in Test cricket.

In the last 4 years - since he was 33 years old - he has taken 27 Test wickets in 29 Test matches at a cost of 44.96 runs per wicket.

That is why South Africa is seriously considering playing Rory Kleinveldt at a fourth quick bowler, because they know that Kallis can't fill that role in Test matches any more.

My money is on South Africa to win 3-0, to be honest.

But sooner or later Kallis will lose it as a geriatric batsman too, while de Villiers' batting is surely weakened by keeping wicket too. Add an opener who is of doubtful Test class (Peterson) and two rookie middle-order batsmen in Elgar and FAF and this might just be a contest.

Posted by shinewindies on (January 31, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

I hope its an evenly contested Test series for the sake of tests though i have liitle expectation from this below average Pakistan side, apart from a win over England they have been very pathetic either side of that series be it tests, T20 or Odis and their current ranking i all formats show that, though they should take some confidence from their performance against India, but still i do not think they'll be of any match to South Africa.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

A great hype of the event everywhere. Pakistan is a very good team and should have been given more good test matches then they are getting now. I think there must be more tests between India Vs Pakistan, Australia Vs Pakistan, England Vs Pakistan and S.A Vs Pakistan.

Pakistan provides a thrill just because of their quality bowling attack. Spin is proven and time after time they tell the world that they have a natural nursary inside Pakistan from where they generate extra ordinary fast bowlers. I really like the response of the people about this series. I really love my country

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 31, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

@ SurlyCynic : Absolutely spot on....how can Mr Lilian simply compare Asif/Amir with Lionel Messi????? Comparisons of Hafeez with Kallis on bowling are simply hilarios.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

@SurlyCynic I take your point about the missing Elephants In The Room, and I'll mention them no more.

But I disagree with your point about South Africa's "superior" bowling in the recent series in Australia.

Australia took 53 South African wickets in 3 Tests for 2046 runs, at an average of 38.6 runs per wicket.

South Africa on the same pitches in the same series took 43 Australian wickets in 3 Tests for 1867 runs at an average of 43.4 runs per wicket.

So South Africa was clearly outbowled by Australia, and only sneaked the series at Perth because Australia's fast bowlers had worn themselves out taking 33 wickets in the first 2 Tests while South Africa's had taken just 23 wickets in 2 Tests.

Australia fielded their 5th, 6th and 7th choice pace bowlers at Perth, and South Africa won convincingly - but not before collapsing to 75-6 on the first afternoon.

In a horribly weak era for both batting and bowling, South Africa stands at number 1 by being "quite good". Not special.

Posted by heartbreakerz on (January 31, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

past records n stats don't matter coz this Pakistan team under Misbah is very different from d previous ones....they have been very consistent n have lost only 2 tests in d last 26 months...these sort ot results were unheard of even in d days of wasim, waqar etc...this team is disciplined n very determined unlike d past Pakistan teams...so them surprising d s.africans can't be ruled out but it's a very difficult task

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 31, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

@Lilian Thomas: you've got to be kidding me!!! "nobody can reasonably say that Steyn/Philander/Morkel is of a higher calibre than Asif/Amir/Junaid" To be ranked best one needs to perform consistently in different surfaces and different conditions over a period of time.It seems you are leaving in a dreamland created by yourself. Amir/Asif/Junaid in combined has not even played around 30 tests...correct me if i am wrong.I don't find anything extra-ordinary about the trio of Amir/Asif/Junaid except they being a talented lot. And if talent being the criteria to be rated as the best, then even Rohit Sharma, Ian Bell, Shaun Marsh, Darren Bravo and Umar Akmal can claim themselves as "the best batsman" And how come you compare Kallis with Hafeez????? Your comparisons are just laughable.....

Posted by crashed on (January 31, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

@LillianThomson Well with 3 bowlers in the top 10 ranking and hunting as a pack I must ask you the question - if SA do not have the best bowling attack as a team can you tell me which team has a better bowling attack - not speaking of 1 bowler but speaking as a team ;) and yes even in their hey days the gr8 windies and Ausies got their off day or 2. However SA does not rely on 1 bowler to do the job every bowler can do the job if 1 struggle the other can and do step up and the same apply to the batsmen ... less than 24 hours to the test I wait in gr8 anticipation to the first over to be bowled so to speak may the best team win :p And to prepare a specific pitch to suit only your bowlers may bite you in the back as happened to both England and Australia vs SA and even India vs England quite recently. What we say and believe out here is not what count it is what happens on the field at the end of the match that really count and go to the record books ....

May the best team win :)

Posted by SK14 on (January 31, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

From PAK's batting prespective, jamshed and azhar are the key. If they can wheather the storm for the first 20 overs, PAK can put up a good total. If you look at some of the performances of ENG and AUS vs South Africa, their top 3 wheathered the storm allowing the middle order to capatilise on the iniative. Although Azhar is out of form, him along with jamshed are determined to do well on foreign pitches which shows you their not backing out of a fight. If you conquer South Africa you can conquer ALL.

Posted by stormer1980 on (January 31, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

@lillian Thomson .. you sound like a sour person ... your beloved Autralia are rubbish .. I'm assuming you are an Aussie Fan ... and give credit where credit is due ... Good Grief ... SA is the best test team in the world .. with 4 batsmen in the top 10 and 3 bowlers in the top 10 ... You saying a whole lot of nothing in your comments as we've conquered England , weve conquered Australia .. all in the back yard ... anything else ... Stats means nothing dude ... We are the best at the moment ... So live with it !

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

@ESPNbug, Are you aware that Waqar and Wasim only ever played together in 1 Test in South Africa, in the drawn 97-98 series? How can you say they failed to knock the Proteas over when they never actually played them together?

There is actual history available, you don't have to make it up.

In 98, Waqar took 16 wickets in 3 Tests @22.12 in South Africa.

In 07, Asif took 19 wickets in 3 Tests @ 18.47, and in the only innings in which he bowled Shoaib Akhtar had figures of 11-2-36-4 and won the Second Test.

Pakistani fast bowlers seem to do just fine in South Africa.

The problem is that the only Pakistani batsmen who thrive are ones like Azhar Mahmood who can pull and hook. Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf has appalling records in South Africa.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 31, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

@LillianOZ - Don't you ever get tired of trolling out the same stuff? Asif and Amir are not playing international cricket, whereas Steyn and Philander are #1 and #2 in the world. If Messi was banned for 5 years he would no longer make the FIFA team of the year would he? You have to prove your worth on the pitch not sitting on the sidelines. Players miss tests for all sorts of reasons, we were deprived of a great fast bowling partnership when Schultz had to retire with injury, but we didn't keep on saying that we had the best fast bowling in theory. Give it a rest.

Aus and England prepared very flat pitches to negate SA's bowling (I've never seen such a flat Oval pitch), so I actually think a 30 average was not bad on those tracks. It was good enough to win the series after all, whereas Aus and England couldn't take 20 wickets on the same tracks.

Posted by Cric_Janbaz on (January 31, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

Robin peterson is an average spinner,pakistanis play spin better than NZ

Posted by FighterKallis on (January 31, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

This saffa batting cant even be broken by akram,waqar.Then what the hell is junaid ,gul and irfan going to do. old man ajmal peaking at 35. well he is going to be humiliated on the hands of saffas. one man can get pak on bail that is yousuf but he is not there . so pak have fun today and tomorrow onwards u are finished.

Posted by Andre117 on (January 31, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

You guys seem to be ignoring a few things. On paper we are stronger than Pakistan in all departments. Vernon might have a poor record away from home but at home he is the most devastatingly effective bowler currently playing. Dale might have a slight drop in form but he has still managed to stay #1, i.e. he is still brilliant and Vern is now @ #2, "poor recent form" or not. Rory Kleinveldt is warming up to test cricket and Robbie has also improved in leaps and bounds. I expect us to roll Pakistan over in the first test with the last 2 being more evenly contested. I won't write Pakistan off completely, but I expect a 2-1 or 2-0 series victory for us with one of our awesome 4some fast bowlers taking man of the series.

Posted by x3rx3s on (January 31, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

@LillianThompon... to quote Boycott: "Can Pakistan's batsmen bat against the best seam-bowling attack in the world?"

Apparently you're outvoted. Forget averages and look at results...

Steyn, when he's needed, can bowl 145+ (and I understand his need to bowl within himself... he's no longer the young tear-away...). For all the up-talk about Irfan, he's a debutant and Morkel is the best proven extractor of steepling bounce in the world. Yes, the world. Philander is phenomenal. End of story.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

Several posters are blindly parroting that South Africa has "the best pace attack".

Well it might well be too good for Pakistan. But it's not actually the best pace attack in the world: nobody can reasonably say that Steyn/Philander/Morkel is of a higher calibre than Asif/Amir/Junaid. If Messi gets banned from the World Cup Final he still exists, and Asif and Amir still exist, in spite of their stupidity.

Steyn's Test bowling average has blown out from his career level of 23 to 30 (apart from v NZ!) since he lost his consistent 145K pace. Morkel's average has always been around 30, and Philander's has been around 30 too in the recent series v England and Australia. Meanwhile Kallis has only taken 31 wickets in his last 28 Tests, a record comparable to Hafeez.

If Pakistan was at full strength - ie with the banned bowlers - and if they had arrived 2 weeks earlier in South Africa to acclimatise they would probably be favourites to win this series. It's their own fault that they're not!

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 31, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

When was the last time there was so much excitement about two bowling units? Its a batsman game agreed, but this Test will be about 2 bowling units trying to outdo each other. That is what i will be following.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 10:19 GMT)

@x3rx3s, I agree with you that if Pakistan have to bat first we might be in for a repeat of NZ's 45 all out or Australia's 47 all out, both within the last 13 months.

But maybe not. It's important to realise that this Pakistan batting line-up has been made of sterner - or at least stodgier - stuff than many in the past.

And South Africa's batting has been inconsistent within the same 13 months. Australia's 47 all out followed immediately after South Africa's own 96 all out just two hours earlier, and when South Africa beat Australia in the decisive Test at Perth 2 months ago they did so having collapsed from 61-1 to 75-6 just after lunch on the First Day to Australia's 5th, 6th and 7th choice fast bowlers.

Starc + Johnson + Hastings + Lyon did that to this South African batting line up 62 days ago. And Junaid, Irfan, Umar Gul and Ajmal are an altogether higher calibre attack.

Posted by Weloveu on (January 31, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

I dont think South Africa under estimate the Pakistan team, and there is good batsmens in their side, but if SA picks an all pace bowling attac k , Pakistan will not make more than 300 over two days, teh Proteas at teh moment has teh ebst 7 batsmens in currently world Cricket . Smith, Petersen,Amla, Kallis, AB de Villiers, Faf Du plessis,and Dean Elgar. and then the best pace attack., Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel,Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis. Spin options are limited, but Robin Peetrsen has shown he can get break thrus.. so the only disadvance will be that the Proteas might be rusty after the One dayers, specially amla, Kallis, Petersen... but the proteas have proved in the past that they can adopt at any stage, and especially in South africa

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 31, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

South Africa may be facing a catch 22 situation. It is a no brainer to throw a pitch full of grass when you are playing teams like India, SL etc but Pakistan also has same ( if not better) kind of fast bowling as does SA. A pitch where Pakistani batsmen will struggle will also suit Pakistani bowlers and lets be honest, South African batting is not as strong as their bowling. SA's is also winning matches because of their bowling rather than batting. Another issue for SA is that they are making a mistake that Pakistani batsmen can be targetted by short ball. Again, unlike Indian, SL and B'deshi batsmen, Pakistani batsmen hanmdle short bowl pretty well. Thats is why you would not normally hear bowlers targetting Pak batsmen with short bowls. They are not sitting ducks against short bowl like Raina, Yuvraj and co! Jamesh and Hafeez are very good hookers and pullers and so Is Mibah and Younis! Pace and bounce does not test Pak batsmen! They have 150KMP/H bowlers all over Pak! Seam gets them

Posted by haq33 on (January 31, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

@ x3rx3s.....what kind of "tickets" do you mean then? The Merv Hughes vs Javed Miandad kind?

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

Being Pakistani, I wish that pakistani team should win the series convincingly. It is very similar mental condition which was emerged when England was about to visit UAE for Pakistan Home series. I was thinking at that time that England had better bowling attack then Pakistan as they had edge in fast bowling and having Swann and Monty they were almost equal if not better in spin. In Batting, they had much better batting than Pakistan. What happened later, Pakistan white washed them. It is the understanding of test cricket of our current squad and Misbah.

For SA series, I really feel that stats are favouring S.A but don't forget Pakistan is very much different than a team 3 years back. They want to prove something to the world. They have the hunger to play and win and most of all they are now aware of the loss by losing one extra wicket or wasting a ball. I ll go for Pakistan to win from heart, not listening my brain :)

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (January 31, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

Pakistans bowling attack is probably as good if not better than South Africa's but considering the fact that they couldnt win a series in SA in the heydays of Wasim and Waqar I really dont think they can do it this time too, for the simple fact that their batsmen ( like all the other subcontinental teams) are gonna really struggle against high quality pace bowling on bouncy pitches as usual.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (January 31, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

@ian45 It already happened in 2010 in the second match where india out bounced SA. Sometimes overdoing could back fire (like how the rank turner favored Eng in india). So Anything can happen and i would say green tops is the way for Pak(SA wont prepare spinner friendly tracks) although paks batsman have weakness in green tops their bowlers are capable of occasional upsets (like Eng/Aus 2010)

Posted by x3rx3s on (January 31, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

@LillianThomson - I don't think everyone agrees that the attacks are comparable. Some of us believe Pakistan have a decent pace attack and one of the best spinners operating at the moment, but SA's attack, on experience alone, is comparable to... well, let's go back in time and find a worthy comparison. I'll leave that one up to the statisticians, but SA have a devastating trio and Pakistan have some untested youngsters upfront. Looking forward to a challenging test, and yes, I recall SA making 120-odd in a first innings at the Wanderers a while back. If they lose the toss and are inserted and are tested, well, that's the nature of the game. If they win and insert Pakistan it may be tickets... and I don't necessarily mean the 5-day kind :)

Here's hoping for an awesome contest, not comparable the recent charade

Posted by Hammad-Hasan on (January 31, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

Unnecessary hype for the series. SA will win easily by 3-0 as Pakistan batsman are not in form and they cant play in bouncy conditions.

Posted by Bowlersholding on (January 31, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

I think the Pakistan team understands test cricket better than what most believe. They have a balanced and talented bowling attack - the only question mark will be if their batsmen can front up to the SA pacemen.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

There is no doubt that Pakistan are under-cooked, and could have done with one more match in South Africa before the Test.

But Gary Kirsten also has some quirky views about rest and relaxation which just might mean that South Africa's players have gone off the boil too.

Smith, Peterson, Kallis, de Villiers and Elgar have barely batted since before Christmas. Philander last bowled in a match almost a month ago, while Steyn and Morkel don't have the "overs in their legs" which Freddie Trueman would swear by.

Gary Kirsten might be right - maybe modern players do need rest whenever they can get it. But if you apply Shane Warne's recent criteria, this is a very underdone South Africa. If they don't bowl first there could be trouble ahead.

Posted by JoieDeVivre on (January 31, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

The series no doubt this series will be extremely competitive and knowing SAF they won't take Pakistan lightly, having said that SAF clearly have an edge in fielding and batting. These are 2 areas Pakistan are struggling for consistency and in a place like SAF you need excellent slip fielders, Yonius Khan and Mohammed Hafeez are very good and they would need support from others and Pakistan can hold on their catches anything can happen. In my view this series is going to be one of the very best with SAF starting as favorites despite the X factor Pakistan posses in Saeed Ajmal. As a neutral can't wait any longer, bring it on I say.

Posted by Sharjeel77 on (January 31, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

Being a Pakistani, I obviously want Pak to perform well in SA. However being a betting man I would put my money on SA. I don't think anyone, so far, has mentioned SA's biggest advantage and Pak's biggest weakness... FIELDING!

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 31, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

@ian45: I truly agree with you.The test saved by SA in Aus for me is one of the finest achievements, specially in this T-20 era. ABD faced 334 balls to score 33 says it all, how determined he was in his approach to save the test.To be no.1, you not necessarily require to win each and every test, you also have to come out of the situation when you are pushed to the wall. SA truly deserves no. 1 ranking, no questions about that.

Posted by ian45 on (January 31, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

@AK47_pk, just like any sub continent team has done hmmm, yet to see it happen, good luck facing Big Vern and company

Posted by ian45 on (January 31, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

@waqans itack, why dont you rather ask what was required of the ozzies in there own back yard, there we (south africa) are with our backs on the ropes second innings 4 down, we batted for 2 days to salvage the test, then again its not the first time we have done this, we did it in the UAE against who, oh ya thats right pakistan , being number 1 is not only about winning every series and every game, its about what a side does when you are in trouble, now tell me are pakistan going to do a nz and play T20 or are they going to give us a game, if your guys are going to play T20 this will be over inside 3 days, oh btw you say we struggled in australia, i guess thats why we won the series hmmmmmm

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

Funnily enough, a green, grassy pitch is actually Pakistan's only hope, because it could make the toss decisive.

Everyone agrees that SA's batting is grossly superior and that while the bowling attacks are comparable, SA's has the all-important experience of local conditions.

But if you were the Pakistan coach and knew that your team would be lucky to score 250 in any given innings, what would you wish for?

You would wish for a greentop, and to win the toss to insert South Africa, and bowl them out for less than 180 on Day 1. It's not Pakistan's best hope - it's their only hope. Because if they could somehow lead by at least 70 in the First Innings they could have 20 overs bowling at SA's 2nd Innings before the end of Day 2, in which SA might lose 3-4 wickets without clearing the deficit.

It's no accident that AUS / ENG / PAK have been the most succesful tourists to SA - it's because of their quick bowlers. SA risk ambushing themselves on a greentop if they lose the toss.

Posted by kc69 on (January 31, 2013, 4:32 GMT)

Well one thing will be proved after this series that for Sub-Continental teams - shorter the format,better they are.Its already proved in the case of India and Sri Lanka and i think that will be the same for Pakistan also.

Posted by kc69 on (January 31, 2013, 4:20 GMT)

IF SA bat first then they are in for a real surprise .However if Pak bat first they would really need to work hard for their runs.

Posted by iameer on (January 31, 2013, 4:14 GMT)

"Peterson tore the webbing between his third and little finger on his right hand"..... Please correct me if I am wrong.... It should be either webbing between third and fourth finger" or "fourth and finger" or both the webbing.......Or does Peterson does n't have a 4th finger.....

Posted by SK14 on (January 31, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

Very excited about this series, bring it on I say. Obviously there are some fans here who are more concerned about stats, rankings, grounds, history??? I mean seriously you guys do realise its a game right?. As a Pakistani I do hope for their(paks) victory but even if they lose all is well, Winning and Losing is all part of the parcel. lol I would love to see Irfan and Morkel bowl in tandem, they could send half of both teams to the hospital.

Posted by jabbarahmed on (January 31, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

pak will win this series..........i believe..........

Posted by Anwaruzz on (January 31, 2013, 3:28 GMT)

This should be an interesting and must watch series ! I would give RSA 60:40 advantage because it is their home series and they are a bit ahead in the batting. PAK bowling variation is their key advanatage but their batters are way behind and a green pitch will severly test them. I am sure the team winning first will field because the first day will be the decider..

Posted by pauliangenius on (January 31, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

SA will doom Pakistan take my word. Pak batting will rarely pass a 250 score in this series, whereas so called 2 meter giant irfan will be thrashed all around the park. Sorry to say but the results are so obvious. Even a target of 150 will be enough for Pak batting.

Posted by Green_Team on (January 31, 2013, 2:49 GMT)

1 day to go . . Best of Luck to both teams :)

Posted by   on (January 30, 2013, 23:30 GMT)

I am not too sure of the Pakistani batting. Rookies all around and Younis and Misbah a little too long in the tooth. Same for Pakistan bowling. Lack of experience and when they see the bouncy pitches the rookies may get excited and loose the plot. More important than the state of the pitch, it is how one uses it. Hope Pakistan put up a good show for the sake of Test match cricket. I am guessing SA 2-0.

Posted by SyedAreYouDumb on (January 30, 2013, 22:44 GMT)

All out place attack will be quite cool as I doubt spinners will trouble Pakistan in these conditions... and if they do, do an all out pace assault will that mean Kallis wont bowl? If he does thats 5 pacers!!

Posted by oayaz01 on (January 30, 2013, 21:26 GMT)

Revind to 1998 Duban when Cronje went in with all pace attackon a green top dropping Pat Symcox who scored a hundred from no 10 in 1st test in Joburg. His play almost worked as Pakistan were 89/5 at one stage before Azhar Mahmood played the innings of his life and then Shoaib showed what difference pace and reverse swing makes. In the end SAF lost by 29 runs so moral of the story, go with an all round attack irrespective of conditions as you have t o bowl last or hold one end.

Posted by AK47_pk on (January 30, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

We pakistani hope its a livliest nd green wicket with pace nd bounce. This is the only way we can beat sa. Sa tactics might back fire on them. Good luck pak team.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 30, 2013, 20:48 GMT)

I hope they dont pick an all out pace attack. Sa has done this in the psst and failed. Spinner provides balance and a breather for quicks. Mind you petrrsen didn't get a chance to bowl at the kiwis in first innings. ..

Posted by screamingeagle on (January 30, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

I am from India, and I can say that if Pak does well against SA, I will say that they deserve their ranking. Else, get ready for the flames. :) fact of life, that is just the way it is.

Posted by Blal on (January 30, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

I think Pakistan is going to miss Mohd Yousuf in South Africa. Along with Younis and Misbah, he would have given the Pak middle order the strength and experience that it appears to be lacking now, specially against a pace-battery that is number one in the world and playing in their own back yard. In my opinion, Pakistani 11 for the first test should have read like this:

Hafeez Jamshed Azhar Yousuf Younis Misbah Sarfraz Gul Junaid Ajmal Irfan

Hoping to be proved wrong, I would say that in final analysis, Pakistan is going to miss Mohd Yousuf.

Posted by sirvivfan on (January 30, 2013, 20:10 GMT)

Here we go more childish comments! Dravidian grivtas may I remind you of what happened with your team against England.....what was it 4-0 on relatively easy pitches! None of your players came to the series, body language etched was plain for everybody to see. Professional cricketers. If pak get beaten its ok because it will be against best team in the world by a good margin. And don't forget in KALLIS they have the best batsmen for the LAST 10 years! He does not hide on flat tracks.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

Consider if Pakistan bowlers over perform their counterparts, wonder what the author have to say before the 2nd Test!!

Posted by drnaveed on (January 30, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

@ Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar: test matches are won on the grounds and not on papers my friend.when England side came to U.A.E. last year,they were also confident that they will thrash our team ,but the results went the other way, and they lost the series 3-0,and keep in mind ,they were the number 1 side than. yes, this series is played in SA,so your team is more familiar with their home grounds. if you have quality bowlers , than we also have a bunch of fine bowlers. yes , it will be a testing series, not only for our batsmen , but also for your batsmen...... secondly, if your comments are true , than perhaps ,hashim amla also did the same during last one day matches against the NZ side. by the way , what he was afraid off ? ,perhaps you could tell ???????/

Posted by   on (January 30, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

I wonder if SA have a best bowling attack in the world! why they struggled in Australia? They got 163+322 in 1st test, 550+267/8 in 2nd and 565/5 in 3rd on pacers supported surfaces.

Posted by Jingoism on (January 30, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

In my opinion, saeed ajmal is the key difference between both teams. Hafeez is also in good howling form now a' days so both hafeez and ajmal will be proved decisive.

Posted by Rolling_in_The_Deep on (January 30, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

Posted by Vandrg on (January 30 2013, 16:54 PM GMT) " What if its the other way Around.." As a pakistani fan, I am looking forward to Cape town, it should be fun..

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 30, 2013, 18:46 GMT)

I think Pakistan is lacking practice. they should atleast one more practice game. Taufeeq's injury is not a good start either. but green wicket seems to be a trap for very first game to put pakistan on back foot.. but you never know, it might fall other way around. I hope all three tests get to 5th day. Veron is very dangerious in home conditions.. anyways i am expecting a good series just like morne.. fingers are crossed.

Posted by DeckChairand6pack on (January 30, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

I would not think the Proteas will go in with an all pace attack. That is the sort of approach which got them clost to the summit before but never onto it. The spinner gives us a nice balance and besides, we have more than enough heat with Dale, Morne, Vernon and a few overs from Jacques. The one thing the SA batters do very well is leave the ball outside off stump and use their patience. Come the afternoon when a bowler has to do a third spell this is when you can pick them off. If the Pakistani batsmen can match this then I think they will compete. If they play shots it is only a matter of time.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 30, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

I've looked into the tea leaves and I predict a 'pakslae' for Pakistan.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (January 30, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Already one batsman dropped himself out of this series. On hearing this news of all pace attack more pakis will be queuing to drop-out of this series. Just watch the fun.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 30, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

This man is very dangerous for Pak team..I saw what he did to us in recent T20 WC...Pak batsmen were totally clueless against him

Posted by SA_Scot on (January 30, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

I could not think of anything more foolish than South Africa doing what the Author suggests they may be *considering* - ""do not be surprised if the hosts are considering fielding an all-pace attack for the first Test against Pakistan.""

I think Hobart less than 4 months ago must be in everyone's minds....didn't everyone believe it was a seamers wicket? For goodness sake though, even if Smithy has asked for a raging pacer, why bother doing that?!? It preapres them for nowehere else in the world. For goodness sake II, Pakistan have a top 4 bowling attack, they are going to be equally dangerous on it.

If Ms Moonda actually believes that SA would go in with an All pace attack, then she must have far less confidence in the SA brains trust than I do. I truly hope SA almost NEVER do the all pace thing again..... Morkel, Philander and Steyn...with a little Kallis, what on Earth would they expect to learn from including ANOTHER pacer!

Peterson needs to play all the time

Posted by Rhygwyn on (January 30, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

Really? I see fee SA fans beating their chests. Maybe one or two. The vast majority of posters are Pakistani fans telling everyone that we have already lost because they have the best bowling attack in the world.

Posted by Vandrg on (January 30, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

I think Pakistan are in big trouble ,Cape town the Mecca of Sa cricket these days will be an absolute bloodbath

Posted by Cricket_Only on (January 30, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

I think SA batsmen are far superior then Pakistanis, but if Pakistan can get 350 on the board then the pressure will mount on SA and we all know how they react to extra pressure. gul and hafeez are the key to success if they click then life will be easy for Pakistanis otherwise....I don't want to talk about it.

Posted by ReverseSwingMaster on (January 30, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

Only this man knows how hard to beat PAKISTAN. Rest of SA fans are dreaming.

Posted by abi111 on (January 30, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

i think SA are over complecant,and if their bowling fails now they will be in trouble

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