JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan face South Africa in the third and final Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday.
South Africa have already won the three-match Test series 2-0 and will be looking to complete a whitewash before their next assignment. For Pakistan, the third Test offers one final shot at redeeming themselves and avoiding a clean sweep in the five-day game before the ODI series.
Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf could take the field against Proteas after Pakistan’s four specialist bowlers were worn down during South Africa’s first innings of 431 at Newlands.
South Africa, on the other hand, will be without the services of captain Faf du Plessis after he was suspended for one Test because of his team’s slow over-rate in Cape Town. Du Plessis is likely to be replaced in the batting order by Zubayr Hamza.
Speaking at a press conference, senior Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali said that although his team were disappointed to have lost the series, they hoped to bring their “A game” to the Wanderers.
“Any tour of South Africa you learn a lot,” said Azhar. “It is always tough. We tried to plan for it and practise for it but unfortunately, it did not go to plan. But there are still some things we think we have achieved. A few of the batsmen got stuck in and showed they can play on these wickets.”
Azhar said the Wanderers pitch looked better for batting than those for the first two Tests. “It looks a better track. Yes, it has grass but in terms of cracks, I think they will widen much later than in the first two Test matches.”
Stand-in South African captain Dean Elgar said he has given a “blunt message” to his players ahead of the third and final Test against Pakistan.
Elgar said South Africa has been in a position to finish off opponents in the final Tests of previous series, notably against India last year, but had let the opportunities slip.
South Africa will move up to second place on the International Cricket Council Test rankings, which Elgar said he regarded as “a massive opportunity”.
The third and final Test between South Africa and Pakistan will start at 1pm PST.
South Africa (from): Dean Elgar (capt), Aiden Markram or Pieter Malan, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier
Pakistan (from): Sarfraz Ahmed (capt/wkt), Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan