No changes to Pakistan team for second Test against South Africa

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LAHORE – Pakistan cricket selectors have decided to not make change it team for the second Test against South Africa, which will commence the Pindi Cricket Stadium from 4 February.

The playing line-up with now be finalised by the captain in consultation with the head coach for the match.

The 17-player squad is:

Openers – Abid Ali (Central Punjab) and Imran Butt (Balochistan)

Middle-order batsmen – Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh) and Saud Shakeel (Sindh)

All-rounders – Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab) and Mohammad Nawaz (Northern)

Wicketkeepers – Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh)

Spinners – Nauman Ali (Northern), Sajid Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Yasir Shah (Balochistan)

Fast bowlers – Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Tabish Khan (Sindh)

First Test

Pakistan won the first test by seven wickets inside four days by defeating visiting Protease last week in Karachi.

Nauman, a 34-year-old left-arm spinner making his test debut, returned 5-35 and Shah took 4-79 to dismiss South Africa for 245 in the second innings before lunch on day four.

It set up a small target of 88 and despite Anrich Nortje’s (2-24) twin strike in one over, Pakistan reached 90-3 before tea in 22.5 overs. Azhar Ali remained unbeaten on 31 while Fawad Alam raised the victory with a boundary off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

“To be honest, scoring 220 in the first innings wasn’t enough and that’s where we let ourselves down the most,” South Africa skipper Quinton de Kock said.

“The way we lost the match, it wasn’t our best. We just go back, prepare and come back mentally stronger (for the second test).”

It was only Pakistan’s fifth victory in 27 test matches against South Africa, which had won at the same venue when it last toured in 2007.

Nauman and Shah shared 14 wickets in the match as South African batsmen struggled against spinners in both innings. The win also earned Babar Azam success in his first test as Pakistan skipper. Babar was due to lead the side in the last series in New Zealand but missed it because of a fractured thumb. “Credit goes to all the players,” Babar said. “Spinners were getting lot of assistance from the pitch which helped us a lot to win within four days.

“We made a strong comeback through senior players Fawad Alam and Azhar Ali in the first innings which built our confidence.” Nortje clean bowled Abid Ali (10) and then had Imran Butt (12), playing his first test, caught behind before Maharaj had Babar (30) trapped leg before wicket when only two needed for victory.

Pakistan had been in control since taking a 158-run first-innings lead, when its lower order rallied from 27-4 to reach 378, helped by Alam’s gritty century.

South Africa resumed Friday on 187-4 and things immediately got worse for the tourists when fast bowler Hasan Ali bowled night-watchman Maharaj with the first delivery of day four.

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