Given the pitch at Centurion, they did well to compete in most part of the match. While the batting in the first innings was not up to the mark, their bowling showed spark with all three pacers in Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi getting among wickets.
Coach Mickey Arthur has announced that both Mohammad Abbas and Haris Sohail are fit and would play the second Test. This would mean that either of Fakhar Zaman or Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Amir would probably have to miss out. The team can also drop Hasan Ali but that would be a bit hard on him given that he has been performing well over a period of time.
Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood performed well but they did not get any contribution from the lower middle order except Babar Azam.
South Africa have found a gem in Duanne Olivier who bagged fifers in both innings and ended with an 11-wicket match haul. Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn also looked in good rhythm and are expected to trouble the Pakistani batsmen again. Vernon Philander is fit and will return in the 2nd Test. He might come in for spinner Keshav Maharaj or a batter, probably Theunis de Bruyn.
South African batting has also not been that good since the retirement of AB de Villiers. However, Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla showed some grit in the first Test and these two would be the key batters along with Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma for the Proteas.
South Africa- Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier
Pakistan- Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas
Cricket Betting Tips and Match Predictions*
Who will win? – South Africa
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) –Azhar Ali (Pakistan), Faf du Plessis (South Africa)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan), Vernon Philander (South Africa)
Most Fours – Azhar Ali (Pakistan), Faf du Plessis (South Africa)
Team Scores Batting First – Pakistan 170+, South Africa 220+
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.