South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Johannesburg March 16, 2013

Momentum key in quick turnaround


Match facts

March 17, 2013, Johannesburg
Start time 1000 local (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

If one-day series have to be this drawn out - this five-match one will take 15 days to complete - at least they should reach their mid-point with all to play for. Pakistan's comeback in Centurion has ensured that is the case and set the contest up for an exciting second half.

With just over 34 hours separating the end of the second match on Friday night and the start of the third one on Sunday morning, this is the only time in the series where momentum may matter because there is such little time to reflect. For Pakistan, that's good news.

They did almost everything right at SuperSport Park, although there are a few things they will want to improve on. After having South Africa 62 for 5, they probably conceded more than they would have liked to. They also made heavy weather of the small chase upfront and will want one of the top three batsmen to go on to post a big score.

Those things involve fine-tuning but South Africa have to look at the broader problems. Again, they found themselves in a pressure situation and again, they could not emerge from it. Farhaan Behardien's determination served as an indication that the middle order is firming up but now they need a collective effort.

Their only fault in the field was a lack of control as AB de Villiers edged dangerously close to being behind the over-rate. Mini-conferences between deliveries and constant changes of fields indicated how hard he was trying to create something but that needs to be tempered with some urgency.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
South Africa: LWWLL
Pakistan: WLLWW

In the spotlight

Hashim Amla has teased with starts in both matches so far but a nasty habit of inside-edging is blighting his game. Usually known for his cool head, Amla has looked hasty in his approach. In his reign as the No.1 ranked ODI batsman in the world, Amla has struck that balance so far but with Graeme Smith struggling and an inexperienced middle order, he is not getting it quite right in this series yet.

With Mohammed Irfan in doubt with a hamstring injury, it will fall to Umar Gul to lead the Pakistan attack once again. Gul has only had one impressive performance on tour, his explosive 5 for 6 in the Twenty20, but he has not taken a single wicket in the ODIs. Moreover, he has been expensive and although he succeeded in troubling Smith in the first match, he was ineffective in the second. If Pakistan hope for a repeat of their Centurion showing, Gul will have to up his game significantly.

Team news

Farhaan Behardien earned himself a few more matches with the only half-century of the innings in Centurion which will keep David Miller out further. Dale Steyn's return means that if Rory Kleinveldt has not recovered from the rib niggle that kept him out of Friday's match, the attack will also stay the same.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Graeme Smith 2 Hashim Amla 3 Colin Ingram, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Ryan McLaren 8 Robin Peterson 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Kyle Abbott/Rory Kleinveldt, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

After Kamran Akmal partnered Mohammad Hafeez with some success in Centurion, pressure will mount on the management to let him open. That would mean only a reshuffle in the batting order with Hafeez dropping to No.3. Pakistan did not miss the extra batsman on Friday and will stick to the same combination with three fast bowlers and Saeed Ajmal as long as Irfan is fit. If Irfan does not play, Wahab Riaz may come in.

Pakistan: (probable) 1, 2 and 3 Nasir Jamshed/Kamran Akmal (wk)/Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Saeed Ajmal 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Mohammed Irfan/Wahab Riaz

Pitch and conditions

Six years ago, this was the ground that produced what it still advertised as the "Greatest ODI of all time," the 438 game between South Africa and Australia. The Wanderers one-day surface promises runs and pace and more of the same can be expected. The weather forecast is clear during the day with a shower possible in the evening.

Unrelated to the match, but of interest nonetheless is that the stadium will be turned pink in support of breast cancer awareness and the organisers are attempting to break the record for the most number of people wearing pink in one place on a day.

Stats and trivia

  • Of the players in this series, Graeme Smith has the most runs at the Wanderers with 452 at an average of 41.09.
  • Pakistan have never won a bilateral ODI series against South Africa.


"We've had two one-sided games so far because one of the teams hasn't turned up. We didn't turn up today and Pakistan didn't in Bloemfontein. If both teams pitch up at the Wanderers, hopefully it will be a very exciting game on Sunday. We will still be favourites because of home conditions on a bouncy and pacy track at the Wanderers."
AB de Villiers

"With the fielding restrictions, you need to pick wickets. Chasing five or six runs an over is easy to get when batsmen are settled. Every batsmen needs to go and get some big knocks. We really need to show some responsibility and just go on."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Noshal on March 17, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    anyway in my opinion Pak management should specify few best cricketers in all departments,in middle order, opening, allrounders, wicket keepers, spiners and pacer. . . . . than rotate them on regular basis despite win or loss, once once selected give them full opportunity for a season, rotate . . . . keep shuffling them in series to series, use all 15s in every series. . . . in end we wil have a much better side for bigger tournaments and less politics in next season replace nonperformers with new blood in every department and gave them a complete season again . . . .let them develop a little confidence at international level

  • Ali on March 17, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Pakistan choose to bowl on high scoring venue. I'm not feeling good about it at all.

  • Noshal on March 17, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    @ Sabir . . . if u remember last match against india, umar throw his wicket away after scoring 26 runs, and we fail to chase 161, i can bet he would have repeated same in yesterday match. . . he did it on many occasions, if u remember his silly short in test against australia, he throw his wicket foolishly...he has developed the habit of throwing his wicket foolishly when it needs most . . he is talented but not perceptive and gritty. . . it is required to make him realize his mistakes and help him to mature, team management is doing right thing in his case, he is not dropped but he have to wait for getting his opportunity... this is exact treatment for him

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    This is really shame that the Pak t20 captain averages only 26 and strike rate of 68 in odi,s and Pak odi captain have not score a single century yet compared to earlier captain like Inzi, Imran, Wasim, Waqar ets who were legends. this really shows the pak cricket standard. im a huge fan of pak team but it really frustrate me

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    @einstien_jouniar, Its not Umar Akmal who fails to deliver when it matter most, its Mishbah who always fail to deliver when it needed. remember t20 league match in wt20 pak needed 2 runs of 2 balls against India, Final t20 world cup final played silly shot and most frustrating recently world cup semifinal he and younis single handedly cost pak a world cup after batting so slowly and put the rest of players under tremendous player and when pak required rate crossed 22 he started hitting sixes. even former great inzi has critised his batting approach.

  • mohammad on March 17, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Dear all,

    We can make all the permutation and combination with Malik, Afridi, Asad, Umar Akmal, Riaz, Gul but the reality is Pakistan needs couple of good scores over 50 from the top 5 supported by 30-40 scores from others in top 5. That can take the target over 230 to make the game competitive. Pakistan has failed to do that. See the way Hafiz, Kamran, Younus got out in the last match, not very encouraging. These 3 could have added another 50 runs with sensible batting. There lies the success of the team. Top 5 has to score 200 runs, period.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    umar gul should get some rest..............Abdul Wahab should come in place of him...........Afridi should play at no 4..Umer akmal and asad shafid both should be in team.....if pakistan got target higher than 250 pakistan will never achieve this target with misbah, Younis and shoab malik.............

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    SA are the favourites still !!

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    kamran should open with jamshed and hafeez at 3 positionin the next ODI.kamran his been rusted at 6 position.he is a much better batsmen at opening position.but he his to improve his skills with the gloves.good luck green shirts

  • Noshal on March 17, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    i'm 100% agree with Hammad Khalid