South Africa v Pakistan, 1st Test, Johannesburg

Pakistan aim to spoil Smith's party

The Preview by Andrew McGlashan

January 31, 2013

Comments: 117 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

February 1-5, 2013
Start time 10.30 (0830 GMT)

Nasir Jamshed smashes one for a six, Australia v Pakistan, Super Eights, World Twenty20 2012, Colombo, October 2, 2012
Nasir Jamshed is set to make his Test debut in the Bullring © AFP

Big picture

South Africa have consolidated their No. 1 ranking since claiming the spot against England, and while their series victory over New Zealand was a formality, it showed the hunger and ruthlessness not to let the title slip away as easily as it had from other teams over the last two years.

This series against Pakistan should require them to lift their game again although the visitors have not played a Test for six months. South Africa start as favourites, and rightly so, but there is enough firepower in Pakistan's attack to cause some difficult moments.

It will be down to the batsmen to ensure there are enough runs on the board to make it count. The bounce provided at venues such as the Wanderers will test the back-foot technique of the young and older players alike; for Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and Nasir Jamshed it is their first experience of South Africa.

Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel pose as a tough a challenge as there is. Swing, seam and bounce. South Africa's Test unit is now very settled, the decision to stick with AB de Villiers as wicketkeeper allowing them added security of a specialist batsman at No. 7. Dean Elgar's hundred against New Zealand means, barring injury, there will be no urge to change in this series.

The match will also be dominated by South Africa marking Smith's 100 Test as captain (99 for his country and one for the World XI). He has not always been a favourite of the fans, although opinions have started to sway in recent months. Winning helps that. It will be a surprise if South Africa do not add another series trophy, but they will have to work for it.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

South Africa WWWDD
Pakistan DDLWW

In the spotlight

Apart from a tricky Test in Brisbane, Vernon Philander has not stopped taking wickets. Only injury stopped him from another likely bagful in the second Test against New Zealand. The only issue for him coming into this game is his lack of bowling over the last couple of weeks, but he has a simple action and simple philosophy, which should mean he could slot straight back into the groove.

Junaid Khan bowled beautifully against India in the one-day series a few weeks ago and if he can transfer that form into red-ball cricket he will be a major threat. An early target will be Graeme Smith, who has a tendency to play across his front pad and was troubled a little by New Zealand's left-armers, and Junaid can test the right handers on both the outside and inside edge. If reverse swing becomes a factor, Junaid will find it.

Team news

South Africa will toy with the idea of an all-pace attack, although it backfired on them the last time they went that way, in Brisbane, and much of the grass had been shaved off by Thursday. Pakistan's batsmen have also had problems against left-arm spin in the past, which favours Robin Peterson. The rest of the XI looks as expected, with Philander fully recovered from the hamstring strain that kept him out of the second Test against New Zealand in mid-January.

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

Pakistan could have two debutants if both Nasir Jamshed and Mohammed Irfan play. Jamshed is a certainty after Taufeeq Umar was ruled out of the tour with a stress fracture of his shin. Temptation to give Irfan his maiden run will be huge but the more than two metre tall bowler may have to wait his turn if Pakistan opt for either Tanvir Ahmed or Rahat Ali.

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 Junaid Khan, 11 Mohammed Irfan/Tanvir Ahmed

Pitch and conditions

Having not hosted a Test since November 2011, the Wanderers will be itching to show off its best side. A belter of a strip has been prepared. Afternoon thunder showers are commonplace in Johannesburg in summer and are forecast for every day of the match but they are not likely to interrupt play too severely. The surface changed from green to white-ish in the days leading into the contest and should be typical of the ground.

Stats and trivia

  • Hashim Amla is one rating point behind Michael Clarke on the ICC's Test batting rankings and has the opportunity to overtake the Australian captain in this series.

  • The last time South Africa played a Test at the Wanderers in November 2011, they lost to Australia.

  • The only way South Africa can lose the No.1 Test ranking is if Pakistan beat them 3-0 in this series.

  • Pakistan have not visited South Africa since 2007-08, when they lost a competitive series 2-1.


"It has been a bit difficult to separate my preparation from the fanfare of the 100th captaincy but there is a maturity in the group and I expect the team to come out firing."
Graeme Smith

"This is the biggest challenge we have had for two and half years but it is a good chance for us to show we have improved."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Andrew McGlashan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AJ_Malik on (February 1, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

@Posted by sannthu_ckt on (February 01 2013, 08:27 AM GMT)

*Smiles*. Well, there's no denying to the fact that India and Pakistan have been arch rivals and will remain so for a long time, maybe forever. So yea, we do compete with each other everywhere indirectly, and there's no harm in it if it is to improve the quality. The objective should be to bring oneself up instead of pulling the other down.

I read some comments from Indian cricket fans also which clearly shows their interest in what may be considered as one of the most interesting contest in progress currently and I appreciate their wishing well to Pakistan team.

Posted by tests_the_best on (February 1, 2013, 15:13 GMT)

@shovwar agree with the analysis that the key is pak batting against sa bowling. though I feel sa would take the first test, pak's best chance is in the 2nd and then the 3rd is a toss-up.

Posted by sannthu_ckt on (February 1, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

@AJ_Malik ..You cant have comment on a article without bringing in India? can you? BTW all the best to both the teams. Pak can clearly pose a tuff challenge to the Proteas, just they need to be cautious in their batting, Misbah and Jamshed can do it

Posted by Solid_Snake on (February 1, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

SA won the toss & decided to Bat first... Quiet surprising to hear that Misbah also wanted to Bat first..Lets see how the match progresses

Posted by spiritwithin on (February 1, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

@Solid_Snake.."""@Cricinfo->I would like to thank the Mods to clear our some of the comments based on pure hatred & Jealousy"""..exactly the same thing which u do in any article related to india's coming to main topic,this series will be decided by Pak's batting performance,if their batsman can stand up then they can win the series considering the good bowling attack,i want to see how Amla plays Junaid and Ajmal,it will be mouth watering contest..also Naser Jamshed against Steyn will be good to see...let the game begin

Posted by RD_TEST_CRIC_FOREVER on (February 1, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

Being a TEST lover........ its always amazing to watch cricket in south africa ...... grass banks beers....... and hardcore cricket.........

With SA being as strong as ever....... and pakistan getting stronger day by day....... it will be true mouth watering contest........

With Steyn morkel philander ajmal junaid irfan ........... i m quite sure it will be bowler dominant series.......

and yeah such condition can bring best out of best...... dying to watch kallis amla class........ and AB......... hes my all time favorite player.........

And Smith heartly congratulation for ur 100th test as captain..... BEST OF LUCK to both teams........ CHEERS to CRICKET!!!!!!!!

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 1, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

The audacity of some Pak fans here is appalling and yet appealing. It appeals so much to me that one evening I would like to sit with them for tea/snacks/beer and do a study of their brains just like Dr. Mortimer wanted to do to Sherlock Holmes. I mean, just what do these fans think of their team? Supporting your team or being zealous about it is one thing but I see some Pak fans here (& elsewhere) using very nasty language for SA team/players. Some say Amla is hype, Kallis is too old now, ABD is a joke, Steyn is over-rated, Philander is good only in 1st 10 overs. And they talk of their Juanid/Irfan as if they are inter-galactic champions. Btw, Irfan is yet to play a test I guess & Junaid is promising but hardly a GREAT as of now.

Do these Pak fans wake up in morning saying YEAH OUR TEAM IS THE BEST? Do they keep thumping their chest all day and demean others? Why can't they use right facts? Ind were NOT #1 when Pak won 2-1, or do the Pak fans believe in credits via time-travel

Posted by Cric_Janbaz on (February 1, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

No matter who wins or loses but one of most awaited series of the year...

Posted by SamRoy on (February 1, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

Junaid, I think, will be world class with his ability to move the ball both ways at lively pace (85 mph). Gul has become very inconsistent as a test match bowler. Bowls a bad ball or two every over. If SA can play Junaid Khan and Saeed Ajmal decently I think they will win comfortably. Any way, Junaid Khan is nowhere in the league of Amir who I thought was the next great fast bowler after Dale Steyn.

Posted by bearface on (February 1, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

South Africa is much stronger in the batting department and have a stronger pace battery and please dont compare the likes of Umar gul, Junaid Khan to Dale Steyn, Steyn is a brilliant fast bowler his record speaks for itself apart from a few bad performances he has proven himself in all conditions he is the best fast bowler in the world in Test Cricket by miles there is Daylight between him and the Andersons and the Siddles but Junaid has massive potential could be something special but has a long way to go. Amla is also one of the best batsmen in the world atm along with Cook and Clarke Pakistan has some promising young batsmen but SA r much stronger. Pakistan's trumpcard is Ajmal if he delivers he can put pressure on the saffers most of the South Africans barring Amla and De Villiers arent very convincing against spin it might be their only weakness.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

I am sure this is going to be one-sided series. It will always be Pakistan bowlers versus SA batsmen, but again they are meeting the lions at their den. Not sure if Irfan is going to last the whole series with his fitness. Should be used in short spells. Nothing to write about Pak batsmen. They will be blown away by Styn, Philander and Morkel. The challenge is for Pakistani batsmen to score runs to put up a fight, which is very difficult to see the least.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 1, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

Finally Half Holiday from My office approved Now on quick mood to reach my TV Screen.NO way to give up any Pre match analysis,commentary and Toss.Really Exciting so much..Come on Pakistan but any way Congrats Smith..What a legend he has...

Posted by   on (February 1, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

I think Pakistan is underrated. I can see them posing alot of problems.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (February 1, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

@TheJester79->When guys like Junaid,gull & other bowler get an opportunity of playing 7 test matches only in a year then it becomes real hard for them to Climb up in the rankings.Yet Our bowlers proved themselves always.Pick up our every tour outside Subcontinent.It's not like we surrender out there.Our bowlers always made sure to create a hell for Opponent batsmen.Then comes our batting which spoils all the Fun.We never have won any series in SA,but pick up our every tour to SA,Except 02 tour..almost al otherl games were very tight & could have gone either way.We have always performed there.. PS->Btw our last played match at Johaneburg was a Draw..People saying that ohh Pak would get out for less than 100..We might but we'l also make things worse for the SA batsmen..It would not be walk in a park for SA..

Posted by Dr_Abrar_A_khan on (February 1, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

Pak Looks in good form in recent year but this is not gonna be as easy for them specially Pakistan Batting Line up Has a Very Very Long History of collapsing against good bowling attacks and specially in Conditions where bowl tend to move both ways at brisk pace so this is a More clear contest between Pak batting and SA bowling than Pak Bolling Vs SA batting because SA Batting Attack Contains Greats And Definitely They can Fight Pak Bowling ....BUT For Pakistan Cricket ....Their Batsman Needs To implement And Need Not to Repeat History Of Collapsing Again If PAK Batsman Would Fight than This would be a Mouth watering CONTEST FOR SURE MY BEST OF LUCK FOR PAK TEAM

Posted by pipsonian on (February 1, 2013, 5:49 GMT)

@TheJester79. I completey disagree with you. The only reason SA bowlers are in the top 10 ranked is because they get to play more tests than Pakistan. Surely Dale is world class but we saw how he bowled against Pakistan in UAE i.e ordinary. Bring the other ones to flat pitches of sub continent and we shall see how world class they are. Just few opportunities that Pakistani bowlers have had, they have proved that they are one of the best. They have performed on flat tracks of Sri Lanka and UAE.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (February 1, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

@Cricinfo->I would like to thank the Mods to clear our some of the comments based on pure hatred & Jealousy.The same fans were here before England tour saying the saying whitewash for Pakistan.But we did the opposite.We just need to win the toss today & then we'l show the world what our bowlers are capable of. Publish.

Posted by rajcl on (February 1, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

guys dont compare PAK to SA .because in SA vs SA, u cant score avg not more than 150, so 150 or 200 is not good target to depend SA in SA. Pak have best spinners but they dont have best pacers, the spin is not working in SA ,what they did in dubai vs my view SA win the serious 3-0 or may be 2-1...take comparison on teams view,SA ( piterson, smith, amla, kallis, ab villeirs, du pless, rudolp, philender, styen, morkel, tanhir),,,,PAk ( hafeez, jamshed, azar al, younis, misbha, sarfraz ,rehman, gul, junaid, ajmal, irfan)...SA 11 vs PAK 11 no one compare to SA in this PAk accept ajmal & younis khan...i can challenge can ur spin take amla wkt early

Posted by EddyEhmed on (February 1, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

Pakistan is in a habit to crush No 1 teams. 01 - England 3/0 (Test) 02 - India 2/1 (One Day) 03 - SAfrica - The series starts now ;) (Test)

Posted by TheJester79 on (February 1, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

@Rajmalla You have got to be joking right...? PAK bowlers have an edge over SA bowlers...? Lets see, we have Steyn, Philander and Morkel in the top 10 ICC test rankings and you have who, Ajmal...? Sure, I respect Pakistan bowling attack but lets be realistic!

Posted by shovwar on (February 1, 2013, 4:16 GMT)

Pakistan will win the first and only Test if bowling first. But SA will bounce Back and win the next 2. But if Pak fail to win the first 1 then its bad news for Pak. Remember its not how cheaply Pak can bowl out SA...The Key is how much run can Pak score?...If they can get runs on the board they will do good. Pakistan has the ability to Bowl SA out for less than 120 but they also have the ability to be bowled out for less than 100. So the game is not over if Pak bowls SA out for cheap...They have to score the runs. SL bowled SA out cheap. So did Australia but they got bowled out even cheaper by SA in their innings. So the Batting of Pakistan is the KEY. The contest would be decided between Pak Batsmen and Saf Fast Bowlers. Good Luck to both teams..May the better side win the series. I think Pak has a good chance of winning the first TEST. This is from a SAFFER.

Posted by Rajmalla on (February 1, 2013, 3:00 GMT)

Bowler's win the cricket match. I think PAK have slight edge.

Posted by babarjee on (February 1, 2013, 2:49 GMT)

Good luck pak & sa May the best tame wins

Posted by   on (February 1, 2013, 2:42 GMT)

Pakistan is the team who white washed then top ranking test team (England), as no teams have done this in recent times against top ranking team. Pakistan is the team who nearly white washed top ranking ODI team (India) on their own soil as no one have won series against them in recent times on Indian soil. Pakistan is the team who put a full stop on Australians world cup continuous winning treats. Now Pakistan is up against another challenge. Though this challenge is toughest of all, but Pakistanis are the true challengers and again they have all arms to prove it again against SA.

Posted by wakaPAK on (February 1, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

@Surajdon9 It's a great comparison between both captains..

Posted by Altamash.Baig on (February 1, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

Question: If you can pick any team in current world cricket to upset a top team, which team will you pick?

Posted by pak78 on (February 1, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

cant wait 8 and a half houirs left to go for the match..... bring it on go get emm team pakistan should be a cracker of a series.

Posted by IAS2009 on (January 31, 2013, 23:54 GMT)

it looks like Pakistan is playing against India, welcome Indian fan supporting SA. is nice to backup some genuine quick bowlers. Pakistan lost a very close series last time. beating SA in their den is very hard. pakistan do not have batting strength to do it. SA is good number 1 team playing mostly away series. I hope Pakistan be competitive.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 31, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

dON9 Prediction

First and foremost I think this will be a classic series with it almost impossible to pick a winner

On the one hand, you have a South African Team that is hard to get a grasp on with them being Super Human in England followed by being very average for the most in Australia

Followed by partaking in a farcical series against a New Zealand Team that was the standard of a Kaapstad under 15's girls side

Going up against a Pakistan side that most are choosing to doubt without realising that they are a very accomplished Team on the rise

I believe in them, and think there is plenty of improvement in them as well

Improvement that will be seen here and lead them to a shock series win

2/1 to Pakistan

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 31, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

Jacques Kallis has played more matches than any other South African against Pakistan. He's scored 1,472 runs in 15 games at an average of 66.90 against the subcontinent's dark horses, while skipper Graeme Smith is second on that list with 11 matches and 849 runs at an average of 44.68. Younis Khan is Pakistan's leading scorer against South Africa, with nine matches and 750 runs at an average of 46.87. Kallis also has 23 Pakistani scalps in the bag in his 15 matches while Dale Steyn has a staggering 19 in five Tests..

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 31, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

Its a much awaited series. South africa is good but Pakistan is not bad either. They lack some practice but i am pretty sure that they will put up a good fight. I hope Nasir and Irfan gets a good start to their test careers. I wish gul could do somthing in this series as he has never been an attack leader after playing so many years of international cricket.. anyways cant wait for series to start.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 31, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

The most capped leader in test match history vs. the captain with the highest win/loss ratio record in test matches and an individual batting average in excess of 60 as captain. Those 2 stats alone tell you all one needs to know about the 2 skippers on show who are very special in their own right. They have both performed formidably and have brought a sense of calm and reassurance to camps which have been inflicted with some of the biggest corruption scandals in sport following shameful acts of their predecessors, Cronje and Salman Butt. Smith is the better batsman in terms of natural ability although never too wise comparing an opener to a middle order player and their averages are not too far apart. Both have improved their side's ranking, both have won 4 series in a row in recent times, both are out of favour in T20 internationals, despite being available for selection, both have won and been unbeaten against Andrew Strauss's side in a 3 test affair.

Posted by vish2020 on (January 31, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

All the best South Africa! Indan Fan but for this series huge South African fan. Amla also has Indian ancestors so makes it that much more fun to root for him. Get em' boyz!

Posted by Shan156 on (January 31, 2013, 22:58 GMT)

@maria_01, Pak. beat Eng. 3-0 in UAE. They are not playing in UAE now. SA would thrash them.

Posted by applethief on (January 31, 2013, 22:44 GMT)

@ maria_01 that may be, but it overlooks the fact that England were massively overrated and didn't deserve the number 1 ranking in the first place. What that series proved was not that Pakistan were a top side, but that England were an average, overhyped (and yes, arrogant) one. South Africa are the real deal, so this time the challenge will be legitimate

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (January 31, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

maria_01 on (January 31 2013, 19:25 PM GMT) In a word "No". Although technically you could say UAE is not 'at home' for pakistan it is where they have been playing for sometime so the wickets/conditions are of considerable benefit to the 'home' outfit. England were undone by excellent spin bowling, with some seam, and batting that was unprepared and nervous of Asian tracks. I think the bowling line ups are both strong but SA are far stronger in the batting stakes. I will be watching some some of the games from the states and although neutral I would be pleased if Pakistan gave a good account of themselves.

Posted by ejsiddiqui on (January 31, 2013, 22:05 GMT)

"The grace has been shaved and The surface changed from green to white-ish" this is a very please surprise for Pakistan considering the spin bowling options.

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 31, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

@C.A-SA1987 - Pakistanis also have huge respect for SA cricket. We wish to be as methodic as Proteas. Hope to see a competitive series, though, right now, Proteas are clear favourites.

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 31, 2013, 21:29 GMT)

Pakistan did white washed Top ranked England team but South Africa is going to be one hell of a challenge. South Africa is the most difficult territory for Pakistan to win a test series but i do pray that Misbah conjure up that miracle. To guys saying Go Green, you must also consider this that South Africa are all Green too so be careful and think............;)

Posted by Cricfannn on (January 31, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

South Africa has 65% and Pakistan 35% chances. But being a Pakistani Fan, I still Believe Pakistan can give them really tough time, at-least we will see tough matches. better than what we got against India which were one sided most of the time, the matches which Pakistan lost in the recent series against India were tough Luck otherwise India didn't really do anything out of the Ordinary. Looking forward to PAK VS SA Tomorrow.

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 31, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

I have not read any comments yet, I will after i give my opinion ;) First of all thank God Pakistan is playing Test, the best Cricket form. I was sick of all talk about ODI's and T20's. I hope it to be a cracker of a contest. If Pakistan buckle under the mighty Saffas, there will be no shame for me because South Africa has the best side and Pakistan need some more time and a lengthy captaincy spell from Misbah to transform into the best Test unit. But I have a gut feeling that it will not be an easy outing for South Africa and Pakistan will give them a tough challenge. The best i can hope for is a draw, win for Pakistan is really far fetched............

Posted by jhabib on (January 31, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

It will be very difficult for Pakistan to win this match. I think, when batting, Pakistan's plan should be "damage control". SA has an excellent pace attack the likes of which Pakistan have not faced in a long time. If Pakistan bat first, I think they will be all-out for less than 200 runs.

Pakistan bowling would however pose a decent challenge to the SA batsmen. If Pakistan bowl first, and bowl well, they can probably restrict SA to 250-275.

It will be a great game to watch. SA are a great cricketing nation and a lot of fun to watch. Their fans like a good game of cricket, like Pakistanis, and cheer for every good display. Unlike India and their fans, who like to moan and go silent when the opposing team takes a wicket or scores a run! What is with that nation... do they think of every boundary as a slap in their collective faces? It's just a game. A great Game, but a game nonetheless. Don't take it to be more than that my dear Indians.

Posted by intrepid_khan on (January 31, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

majority of RSA fans are humble n down to earth even beeing the #1 test team in the world and thats why i respect them and after Pakistan i always support RSA bc they are also talented and possess some serious cricketing skills !! best of luck to both teams , i reckon we are up for something exciting here =)

Posted by RameshRayaprolu on (January 31, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

Pakistan has the ability with Ball and Bat. If they show it to SA, I am sure they can resist the SA big time. Infact, I suspect that this PAK team is the the ONLY team who has the ability to counter SA's dominance at home.

Posted by AJ_Malik on (January 31, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

@ Posted by C.A-SA1987 on (January 31 2013, 19:14 PM GMT)

Thanks for the opinion. But I think most indians reading it would be wondering if you are some Pakistani behind that SA nick.. Lol. Just saying. Hope we get to see an enthralling contest. All the best!

Posted by Supa_SAFFA on (January 31, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

@Posted by AJ_Malik on (January 31 2013, 18:31 PM GMT): As a diehard Proteas supporter, let me assure you as well, SA vs Pakistan is a far more gripping prospect. India is a team of has-beens and prima donnas, well known to SA through the IPL and Gary Kirsten. As for Pakistan, it may well be that SA destroys that team without a fuss, but it can't be taken for granted. They seem unnervingly hungry, even desperate to prove their worth and make history.

Posted by maria_01 on (January 31, 2013, 19:25 GMT)

pakistan beat england 3-0 when they were no # 1 in test south africa is at no #1...will pakistan repaeat the history............

Posted by humi_cric on (January 31, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

see you tomorrow tommytuckersaffa, if Pakistan bowl first then love to read your comments, very excited abt this test as it will set the tone for the series

Posted by C.A-SA1987 on (January 31, 2013, 19:14 GMT)

@Posted by AJ_Malik on (January 31 2013, 18:31 PM GMT)

I think i speak on behalf of most Protea fans... Definitely Proteas vs Pakistan.

Reasons are: Pak has a really good bowling attack, and good bowling is a treat to watch no matter what. Pakistanis do not complain and moan like the indian players when things dont go there way. Pakistani players seem to have a far higher respect and admiration for Test Cricket than indians.

I hope that answers your question.

Posted by ian45 on (January 31, 2013, 19:12 GMT)

ha ha ha you are all so funny, this from a team who hasent played a test for 6 months, lets see what you got to say when you need to save the first test on day 3

Posted by maddy20 on (January 31, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

@getsetgopk That would make for a nice joke after SA roll over Pak. Man for man Pak is clearly outclassed in every aspect of the game and they are sure to be outgunned too. It would be a huge achievement if Pak can win a single test, which I dont think they will.

Posted by Basit75 on (January 31, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

best of luck Pakistan team. INSHAALLAH we will watch a good contest

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

I am just wondering what is more interesting contest for most Proteus? SA Vs India or SA Vs Pakistan? I would appreciate any comments from SA supporters.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 31, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

Pakistan Pakistan Pakistan....My Final XI will be Jamshed, Hafeez, Ali, Khan, haq. Safiq, Ahmed, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Saaed Ajmal, Mahomaad Irfan

Posted by the_blue_android on (January 31, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

If only Pakistan's talent had the infrastructure and the setup of SA or Australia or England, Pakistan would be easily # 1 team. Imagine if A&A would have been with team green? My heart bleeds again! Fan from India. Go team green and team dark green!

Posted by Heavy777 on (January 31, 2013, 18:11 GMT)

As a South African and obviously a huge Proteas fan, I would like to welcome the Pakistan cricket team to South Africa. I have huge respect for Pakistan & I know that the Proteas team do. The real test starts now; I am extremely excited. Go Proteas & best of luck Pakistan!

Posted by maddy20 on (January 31, 2013, 18:06 GMT)

Let alone winning, this Pakistani batting line up handling the SA pace battery and their spinners will not be able to get the amount of purchase they got in UAE. 2-0 or 3-0 in favor of SA guaranteed.

Posted by da_man_ on (January 31, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

I agree that this is the ultimate test for this Pakistan team, and has probably come a year or so too early. I see a SA series victory in all honesty, but as always, all I want to see from the greens is a fighting spirit and never say die attitude. As has been commented upon, the fact that Pak is being taken seriously by the No.1 (by a clear margin) side is encouraging. New players will be inducted at some stage, but is it really fair on Haris et al to be handed a debut against SA at home?! At least Azhar and Asad have played a series in England, and are a little battle hardened. It is painfully obvious (to me at least) that Irfan is not yet fit enough for the rigours of test cricket. So we'll have to hand out a debut to one fast bowler. Abdur Rehman won't play given the nature of the surfaces. Hafeez will double up as second spinner especially agains the left handers. Let's have a great series, best of luck to both teams.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 17:59 GMT)

I think if Pak bat 2nd they will have a better chance as on the first day the pitch will suite the fast bowlers more and as we know Pak does not have a very good batting line up they are better off choosing to filed if they win the toss. My Pak team is: 1. Hafeez 2. Jamshed 3. Asad 4.Younis 5 Misbah 6. Haris 7.Sarfaraz 8.Gull 9. Tanveer 10.Junaid 11.Ajmal Also I wanted to say congrats to Gream Smith for 100 tests and what a captain he has been, other captains should learn from him. And I would like to see Amla go number 1 again and Kallis perfrom well he is a true Legend much bigger then any other Cricketer in the world. Good luck to both teams. Let the games begin!

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

"Best of Luck to Pakistan hope they play well against Africans. One more thing there is no doubt PakiStan is One of the team that mape this game so wool watching.Best of Luck from India"

Posted by Crick_Expert on (January 31, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

Pakistan should bowls first...I would like to see double century from Nasir Jamshed and 5 wickets from Junaid..waiting for good cricket. Good Luck to both teams..let see tommorrow !

Posted by Crick_Expert on (January 31, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

PAK TEAM SHOUD ME AS; 1.Jamshed 2.Hafeez 3.Younus 4.Azhar 5.Haris 6.Misbah 7.Sarfaraz 8.Gul 9.Saeed 10.Junaid 11.Irfan

Asad Safiq not able to play SA bounce pitch. Imran Farhat can play better then Asad at SA fast pitch.

Posted by suniljoseph on (January 31, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Now we the Pakistanis will prove it once again it in the ground. After having so much difficulties in our country as per security conditions are concerned, Pakistan has performed much better than the Indian team. This series will show our supremacy over the Indian team both in terms of bowling and batting.

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 31, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

Its time Pak put yet another world NO1 to the sword, this time in their own backyard. Show no quarter, its either us or them.

Posted by WeeBee on (January 31, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

I will be a tough contest ... my wishes are with Pakistan. I want good fight from both sides and make the play hard.

Posted by Mitch1066 on (January 31, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

We shall see how good Pakistan are in this series in more alien conditions. They do brilliant in all aspects of game Dubai against England . I think this be bigger test as South Africa are team beat at min and also home . Good marker for Pakistan team to see how far off they are. Let best team win . Though I suspect morkel steyn and veron will do damage .

Posted by applethief on (January 31, 2013, 17:16 GMT)

For all the issues with Taufeeq's loss of form, he at least had the right attitude, playing slow and steady, grinding away to see off the new ball. Though Hafeez has a lot of talent and good sense, he's prone to brain-fades and often throws away his wicket. Nasir is an unknown quantity, but seems to be of a similar ilk, which could be a problem as the Pakistan middle order really need to face the old ball to prosper. This may be the tour where Azhar will be forced to prove that he's got it in him to be a test match opener

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

my pak team: 1.Jamshed 2.Hafeez 3.Younus 4.Azhar 5.Haris 6.Misbah 7.Sarfaraz 8.Gul 9.Saeed/Abdul Rahman 10.Junaid 11.Irfan/Rahat

Posted by Waqasahmed92 on (January 31, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

My Friends..............................The Time for Talk is Over

Let the games Begin

Posted by KingAjmal on (January 31, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

South Africa will thrash Pakistan.

Posted by Always_pakistan on (January 31, 2013, 16:49 GMT)

Goodluck team pakistan you can do it. Only bat and field well then nothing can stop you guys because bowling was never our problem. Go pakisan go. Cricinfo please publish

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 16:42 GMT)

pak should play with

1. hafeez 2. jamsheed 3. azhar 4. younis 5. misbah 6. asad 7. sarfraz 8. gull 9. ajmal 10. junaid 11. tanveer

irfan fitness not as require in test cricket

Posted by TurningSquare on (January 31, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

Had Pakistan still been able to call upon the services of Amir and Asif. Then I could see them ripping through the SA batting line-up on their pitches. Regardless they have a talented bowling group. Although I'm concerned about Gul, he will have to find the right length consistently or he could go the journey against Amla, Kallis and AB especially.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

what about DRS technology ? Is technology available throughout the whole series ?

Posted by SaadRocx on (January 31, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

@ TommytuckerSaffa, Watch out for the Pace attack of may surprise you..mate...i'll see you tomorrow ...

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

i suppose to ask, all cricket experts sitting here posting comments right away from the frist word posted on the article, and as being a cricket learner, what is the compitition for? (1) Compitition for Pakistani BATSMENS to face wolrd's best bowling attack? No (2) Compitition for South African Bowlers to face Most un-pridictive Batting? No (3) Test for Pakistani Bowling to make Protiuse Batting under-gone? No Pakistani Batting can not face Protiuse Bowling. we are weak. Bowling is great for them. Now question is what is the test for? what is compitition for? It is for (4) South Africans Batting to Face Pakistani Bowling...... England scattered... Indians were Bowing down in front of us.... T20 world cup was for us if batting had made it..... this was the bowling that did every thing for us. If South Africans can take our 20 wickets then we also have a bowling attack that can also take 20 wickets as well... remember that and think who will be tested.... Protuise or Pakistanis?

Posted by voyager on (January 31, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

Just fighting well as a team (winning will be icing on the cake) will confirm Misbah's stature as one of the finest Pakistan captain, to me his contribution in bringing competitiveness and respect back to Pakistan team is immense. Series like these are similar in importance (if not more) than WC. As a cricket and Pakistan supporter all I want is fight! Match blow with blow! Don't give up. Pakistan's batting is being rightly mentioned as key to having a closely fought series or a one side series, but one thing that I have not seen mentioned is Pakistan's fielding. Whenever Pakistan or any team for that matter take all important catches they mostly win matches, one can imagine the impact of dropping any SA top order batsmen early in their innings. Pakistan especially will need to watch out for that as ball comes differently to fielder as well on fast and bouncy tracks.

Posted by Gurram on (January 31, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

Rain and new pakistani seem attack may surprise South Africa. Draw or Loss is on cards for South Africa.

Posted by Vandrg on (January 31, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

this test should end on day 4 and the cape town test on day 3 ,will be very fun too watch if youre a protea fan

Posted by DGIFT on (January 31, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

@ZAB2121 I would but Pakistan have Not faced Steyn , Morkel, & Philander on a Boncy Green Pitch..

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

Pakistan is a underdog here. They have nothing to lose.................struggling for some time. On the other hand, SA knows what their limitations are. One of their key bowler Philander get injured in Australia. No one tell for sure that he or R Peterson will not be injured in the series again. If that happens, then Kleinveld or Tahir can't be their replacement. Injury will hurt SA more than Pakistan in the series.

Posted by VivSingh on (January 31, 2013, 15:48 GMT)

I've been really looking forward to this contest. A lot will depend on how the Pakistani batsmen cope against the Proteas bowlers because they are still quite brittle. The pitches will certainly allow the quicks to showcase their ability. Can't wait!

Posted by brusselslion on (January 31, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

Nice to see Pakistan back playing Test cricket. Hopefully, in the not too distant future they will be playing home series again: If Pakistan play up to their potential then this could be a cracking series. However, if they are anything below their best, they may well get hammered. The SAs aren't #1 for nothing.

Posted by zalmaypk on (January 31, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

I think Pakistan need a luck to win the the toss,and then they choose bowling,and will try to reduce them as soon as..gud luck Pak team

Posted by swat1999 on (January 31, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

This test series will be very attractive. there will be huge fight between bat and ball. South Africa is World No.1 Test team, On the other hand Pakistan is Much improved team their slip catching is improved, bowling is world class only the weakest link is batting especially middle order. If Pakistan score 350 for first innings total than match anybody may win. Looking forward this match.....

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (January 31, 2013, 15:39 GMT)

Pakistan can do it! They just need to believe in themselves and play to their potential. Junaid Khan is a big BIG factor for Pakistan

Posted by the_blue_android on (January 31, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

Bring on some real test cricket! This will be a treat to watch! Shame on India for losing every test away and almost losing every test at home! This coming from an Indian 'fan'. We all know that some Pakistani players have underperformed in some series in the past and hence their lack of results. If they wouldn't have done that, I'm sure they could have won some tests in Australia and definitely the series in England. My two favorite test teams at the moment! Go SA, Go Pak! Again, Shame on India for the way they play test cricket!

Posted by Dannymania on (January 31, 2013, 15:27 GMT)

Misbah's comment was very mature and serious. Lets hope that for us, as Pakistani supporters, the team does perform.. Pakistan's bowling is alright.. They just have to bat well. As simple as that. I have huge expectations from Azhar Ali, and if only he plays consistently, Pakistan will have a great chance. It was an interesting stat that for south Africans to leave their number one rank, Pakistanis will have to beat them 3-0. An extremely tough ask, but still it IS possible. And as a true fan, i'm gonna back them doing that..hahaha

Posted by IndvsEngseries on (January 31, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

Pak bowlers will find it difficult to take 20wickets as SA batting is strong and they bat deep. SA will win the series 3-0 comfortable

Posted by vak1997 on (January 31, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

it will be an interesting face off although SA hold the edge. I don't reckon this as a more interesting series than the one played between Eng-SA last year...

Posted by ZAB2121 on (January 31, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

@DGIFT.. find me an inning where Pakistan team was bowled out within 20 overs in a test match. Come out of your IPL world.

Posted by dontlikecricket on (January 31, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

@mainul079080: Clearly you dont have any undertanding how test cricket works in real world??I bet you have never played proper cricket (i;e: playing using a red ball etc). I am sure Pak will struggle to score agaisnt SA and will like to get out relatively cheaply in atleast few innings. However there are not many Pak batsmen who can actually play on bouncy fast wickets same as all teams from subcontinent. Patience is key in test cricket and I will have tuck tuck Misbah and Azhar in team any day then flashy players with no patience. As experienced batsmen use to say if you stay on the wicket long enough, you will score runs as well. No one cares if batsmen strike rate is less than 33% as long as they all chip in together to put a total team score of 250/300!! Also Azhar is the highest scroring Pak batsman of last 2 years, him and Misbah have average of over 40. In fact tuck tuck was the key factor is a draw agaisnt SA in UAE in 2010. Why not go and look at the stats before posting??

Posted by khurramsch on (January 31, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

with addition of 2 more pacers now pakistan have got some good options, tanvir was good vs SA in UAE last series, Rahat has also been good domestic players. it all depends on Junaid and Gul to support him. If junaid displays same skills which he showed vs Inda in odis or in UAE/SL by grabbing 5 fors on dead pitches . toss seems to be playing important role as well. I think it will be how pak batsmen play SA bowlers

Posted by micklem on (January 31, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

Pakistan going to lose this series,probably 3-0.There bowling may be alright,but there batsmen not going to stand the best fast bowling nowadays.Anyway i will be happy if pakistan batsmen perform,Howevert I dont see that is going to happen.Good Luck Pakistan!

Posted by ICCexpert.... on (January 31, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

Pakistan A team announced :- Shahid Afridi ( captain ) Jamal Anwar (w.k.), Ahmad Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Rameez Raja Jr, Ali Waqas, Hammad Azam, Anwar Ali, Asad Ali, Zia-ul-haq, Imam-ul-haq, Hasan Raza, Usman Qadir, Umar Amin, Wahab Reyaz..looks like a very aggressive batting and bowling

Posted by rzi-BDML on (January 31, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

Of course the beggest challenge of Misbah captaincy, but the team is now in a better shape to meet the challenge. Irfan should be given a chance instead of Tanvir. Best of luck Pakistan

Posted by neutral_zone on (January 31, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

win and lose at this stage is not a big deal for Pakistan . what is gud for them is that they have now quality opposition and a chance to prove that they can adopt local conditions by hand. SA is no. 1 test team and here comes the biggest challenge for them with a team who is curious to play test matches since there no. 1 ranking. it will not be easy for South Africa to win the series as they are going to have a toughest challenge. Best of luck to South Africa and Pakistan. may the best team win.the battle of the year is going to start soon ... :)

Posted by Farrukh.91. on (January 31, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

the series end result may be 2-1 in favour of either side!

Posted by Muttee on (January 31, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Mouth watering series this, can't wait. I really hope Pakistan win the toss and chose to bowl first and really have a go at mighty South African batting line-up. Good Luck greens.

Posted by DGIFT on (January 31, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

If Sa Bowl first it will be near impossible for pak to win the match. they are most likely to get bowled out within 20 overs.

Posted by tests_the_best on (January 31, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

My prediction for this series is SA taking it 2-1. Somehow subcontinental teams have performed better in SA than Aus in recent times. Each of Pak, Ind, SL got whitewashed on their last tours to Aus. But Ind managed 1-1 last time in SA and SL lost 1-2. Somehow SA are vulnerable on their own tracks against even a decent bowling attack. All that opposition teams need to do is bundle SA out for a low 125-150 score in 1 out of 6 innings and one test is in the bag. Pak bowling seems quite capable of that but considering how weak Pak batting is in these conditions, they might not be able to win more than one. Should be an interesting series.

Posted by Nigah on (January 31, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

If Pakistani batsman able to put some score then things will change for RSA without any doubt.

Posted by Muttee on (January 31, 2013, 14:33 GMT)

Mouth watering series this, can't wait. I really hope Pakistan win the toss and chose to bowl first and really have a go at mighty South African batting line-up. Good Luck greens.

Posted by mainul079080 on (January 31, 2013, 14:26 GMT)

Hii Hii, though i m a pakistani supporter in this series i m expecting figures like 130 all out,120 all out and even 87 all out from pakistan. Because their middle order consists of tuk tuk Misbah and turtle Azhar who will score 5 or 7 of 50 balls and get out. When the time will come for Fawad Alam,Haris Sohail, Afaq Rahim,Umar Amin to prove this batters unfit for Pak team?

Posted by tanoli82 on (January 31, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

Go Green, I know its hard for you guys to beat them but not impossible.

Posted by ZAB2121 on (January 31, 2013, 14:24 GMT)

Time to spoil the pary team GREEN. SA to get out under a hundred if Pak bowls first, any odds?

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 31, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

In pitch conditions Andrew said that "The surface changed from green to white-ish in the days leading into the contest and should be typical of the ground." . This shows that SA have given up the temptation to field an all pace attack.

I cant waiit till tomorrow for the 1st test.


Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 31, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

Andrew is spot-on with regard to all the comments except that Irfan may have to wait if pakistan decide to play Tanvir Ahmed or Rahat Ali in his place in the first Test.

Looking at the form and performance of Irfan in the India series, I dont see why the Pakistani think-tank would decide to make Irfan wait for his test Debute. Irfan bolwed regurlary at and around 145 kmph in India. Although Rahat Ali with a bowling average of 20 in first class matches is a great temptation. Also I understand that he too bowls at 145 kmph. But the hieght will be an additional advantage for Irfan. And if this giant can have the Indian batsmen hopping on pitches that are dead/docile or less bouncy then I wonder what he might do on bouncy wickets, though he will have to find the right lenght for that.

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

Can't wait for this test, have even been itching to read this report all day. Bring it on, come on South Africa!

Posted by SICHO on (January 31, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

and now for our boys to destroy the Pakistanis, let the game begin!!

Posted by Solace1 on (January 31, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

pakistan aim to spoil smith's party? you mean in their dreams?

Posted by applethief on (January 31, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

This has all the potential to be a cracking match. It also has the equal potential to go to lunch on the first day with Pakistan 60/6. Let's hope the good Pakistan show up for this series!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 31, 2013, 14:06 GMT)

Brace yourselves pak fans, it's almost hammer time...

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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