South Africa will want to avoid being on the wrong end of a series sweep as they aim to end a barren run in Asia when they go up against Pakistan in the second Test. 

Having suffered a seven-wicket defeat in Rawalpindi, the Proteas are now winless in their previous 13 Tests on the subcontinent, a dismal run of form that followed a 153-run victory over Sri Lanka in Galle in July 2014. 

The tourists were undone by Pakistan's spin pairing of Yasir Shah and Nauman Ali in the first game, with the duo taking 14 of the 20 South Africa wickets to fall at the National Stadium. 

However, the venue for the second Test could offer a little more help to the quicker bowlers, a welcome boost for struggling South Africa as they bid to draw level. 

Their plans for the first Test were hampered by the late withdrawal of Tabraiz Shamsi, who suffered a back issue in the warm-up and had to be replaced by paceman Lungi Ngidi.  

Shamsi has recovered in time to be considered for selection, while opening batsman Dean Elgar is also fit to play after a taking a nasty blow to the hand while batting in his team's second innings. 

South Africa fought hard in the face of a hefty first-innings deficit but were left with too much to do after only making 220 on day one. Amid the frustration, all the top seven in the order reached double figures but failed to build on it, their cause not helped by both Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma getting run out. 

As for the hosts, their line-up may well depend on the pitch. Considering the balance of the side worked so well last time out, it could be they go with the same XI again. 

The top order did struggle but Fawad Alam's century and a wagging tail helped rescue their first innings, having at one stage slumped to 27-4 late on day one. Babar Azam had a quiet debut in his role as Test captain in terms of his output with the bat, managing 37 runs in his two knocks.

CAPTAINCY SWANSONG FOR DE KOCK? 

It appears Quinton de Kock is set for his final Test in charge of the Proteas – for now at least. The wicketkeeper-batsman may have been set to continue in the role for the Tests against Australia on home soil, but that series has been postponed. Instead, the break will allow De Kock to get some well-earned rest and team management to assess their options. 

"When we get back after this tour we've got a bit of time before our next series so we can sit down and make a good, solid call on who can take over from him and release him from that burden and try and get the best out of him," South Africa coach Mark Boucher said on the eve of the game. 

 
SPINNERS IN SIGHT FOR YASIR 

Yasir played a pivotal role in the opener, finishing with match figures of 7-133. His haul in Karachi takes his career tally in Tests to 234 wickets, meaning he is just three shy of fifth place on the all-time list for Pakistan.  

The great Abdul Qadir currently occupies the spot, while another leg-spinner in Danish Kaneria sits third on 261. However, there is some way to go to catch the bowler on top; Wasim Akram finished his career with 414 wickets at a ridiculously impressive average of 23.62.  


KEY MATCH FACTS

- South Africa will be looking to avoid a fourth consecutive multi-game Test series loss away from home; it would be the first time the Proteas have lost as many such series in succession since losing each of their first seven in the format (July 1907 – February 1932).

- Pakistan won their most recent Test at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium by an innings and 44 runs (against Bangladesh, February 2020). They will be aiming to secure back-to-back triumphs at the venue for the first time.

- Babar Azam has scored a century in each of his previous two Test innings in Rawalpindi; no player has more at the venue in the format (Saeed Anwar and Michael Slater also have two).

- Pakistan have dropped 13 catches in Tests so far this year, the most by any side and one of only two in double figures (India – 10).

- Kagiso Rabada has a bowling strike rate of 41.1 in Test cricket, the best by any player to take at least 150 wickets in the format.

- Faheem Ashraf finished with the best dot ball percentage (89.3 per cent) of any bowler in the first Test, though it was the first time he has failed to claim a wicket.

Nauman Ali claimed a maiden five-wicket haul to help Pakistan win the first Test against South Africa in Karachi, despite an early wobble in their run chase.

Having bowled out the Proteas for 245 in the first session on day four, the hosts lost openers Abid Ali and Imran Butt to slip to 23-2 when needing 88.

However, captain Babar Azam made 30 and despite his departure on the brink of victory, trapped lbw by Keshav Maharaj, first-innings centurion Fawad Alam hit the winning boundary to seal a seven-wicket triumph. Azhar Ali, meanwhile, finished up unbeaten on 31.

South Africa have now lost eight successive Tests overseas. They had resumed on 187-4 but managed to add just a further 58 runs for the loss of their final six wickets, debutant Nauman taking four of them as he finished with 5-35 from 25.3 overs.

Nightwatchman Maharaj was dismissed by the first ball of the day, bowled by one that kept a little low from paceman Hasan Ali.

Proteas captain Quinton de Kock then fell to Yasir Shah for two, giving the leg spinner a fourth wicket of the innings.

From then on, though, Nauman took charge. He worked his way through the tail and while Temba Bavuma battled hard, the batsman was last man out when trapped lbw by the left-arm spinner for 40.

Anrich Nortje gave the tourists a glimmer of hope when he dismissed both opening batsmen straight after the lunch break, but South Africa will rue a late clatter of wickets on day three having battled so hard with the bat to wipe out a first-innings deficit of 168.

 

Nauman makes an immediate impact

At 34 years and 111 days, Nauman was the fourth oldest debutant for Pakistan in the format. The wait proved worthwhile, though, as he finished with impressive match figures of 7-73.

While Yasir claimed the key scalp of De Kock, it was his fellow slow bowler who made sure the home team were left with a manageable target on a tired pitch showing obvious signs of variable bounce.

Babar celebrates home comforts

Despite his late dismissal - falling for a second time in the game to the left-arm spin of Maharaj - Babar can reflect on a satisfying first outing as Test skipper, having missed the 2-0 series defeat in New Zealand due to injury.

As was the case against the Black Caps, the top order struggled for runs. However, Fawad's superb first-innings century helped lead a recovery and the result means Pakistan cannot lose the series now. The second and final match takes place in Rawalpindi, starting on February 4.

Pakistan took three priceless wickets in a devastating 25-minute burst before the close to leave South Africa in deep trouble in the first Test.

A gripping third day of the clash in Karachi looked set to be one that ended with South Africa in healthy shape in their second innings, but the impressive Yasir Shah had other thoughts and helped reduce the tourists to 187-4, for a slender lead of 29 runs.

The losses of Rassie van der Dussen (64), Faf du Plessis (10) and Aiden Markram (74) in that rush of wickets meant the advantage was firmly with Pakistan at the close.

In the first of two Tests, Pakistan had earlier frustrated their visitors with the bat when a wagging tail saw them move from 308-8 at the start of Thursday's play to 378 all out.

That gave Pakistan a first-innings lead of 158, not bad going for a team who had been 27-4 at one stage.

Kagiso Rabada removed Hasan Ali in the morning, smashing his middle stump out of the ground, and the South Africa paceman's figures of 3-70 took him to 200 Test wickets.

But Pakistan's lower order largely showed impressive defiance, and number 11 batsman Yasir, who has a Test century to his name, was stranded on 38 not out when Nauman Ali (24) was last man out.

Yasir would soon get his leg breaks turning and removed Dean Elgar for 29 to break up South Africa's opening partnership.

Markram, who has enjoyed hot spells with the bat on home soil, then looked to have chosen an opportune moment to make a first Test half-century outside South Africa, but the events of the final half-hour saw Pakistan wrest back control.

Abid Ali took a sharp catch at silly mid-off to give Yasir the important wicket of Van der Dussen, ending a 127-run second-wicket partnership.

Du Plessis had an early life when a review spared him an lbw dismissal, the ball from Yasir shown to have pitched millimetres outside leg stump.

But Yasir would not be denied for long and soon had his man pinned in front again, with no doubts second time around.

Markram was prised out by Nauman moments later, prodding to silly mid-off, as the complexion of the contest changed completely.


Yasir a game-changer

First came his quickfire runs from number 11, the sort of innings that causes opponents deep frustration, but then we saw Yasir at his best with the ball. Markram and Van der Dussen looked to be leading South Africa to a healthy position - and to be only one down and back in the black at the start of Friday's play would have been a huge boon. But Yasir (3-53) kept his focus sharp and his deliveries repeatedly hitting the mark in those closing overs, and the rewards deservedly came his way.

Breakthrough for Markram

The South Africa opener has four Test centuries but until this innings he had curiously never posted a fifty outside his home country in the five-day game. It was a purposeful, positive knock and looked set to see him grab the day's headlines, until Yasir put the Proteas in a spin. With wickets falling at the other end, Nauman seized the moment to prise out a presumably distracted Markram and land perhaps the most telling blow of all.

Hope for tourists?

If Pakistan were able to battle back from 27-4, then why shouldn't South Africa, who are 29 runs ahead in the match but also four down, also find runs in their middle and lower orders? Temba Bavuma and Keshav Maharaj have recent Test half-centuries, and the influence of captain Quinton de Kock, who resumes on nought on Friday, could be all-important.

Kagiso Rabada struck twice as Pakistan made a nightmare start to their reply after bowling South Africa out on a dramatic day one of the Test series in Karachi.

The Proteas, touring Pakistan for the first time in 14 years, were dismissed for 220 after winning the toss at the National Stadium on Tuesday, Yasir Shah taking 3-54.

Dean Elgar (58) made a half-century but South Africa lost four wickets in the afternoon session and were all out not long after tea, debutant Nauman Ali and paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi finishing with two wickets apiece.

Rabada, playing his first Test for just over a year, then brought Pakistan back down to earth as he took 2-8 in six overs and they were in deep trouble on 33-4 at stumps.

Fit-again paceman Rabada removed Imran Butt for only nine on his debut and dismissed Abid Ali before Keshav Maharaj claimed the huge scalp of Babar Azam for just seven in his first innings as Test captain.

Anrich Nortje got in on the act by seeing the back of nightwatchman Afridi and Pakistan will resume on day two trailing by 187 runs.

The tourists had early been going along nicely on 63-1 until Rassie van der Dussen was run out by a combination of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan and they stumbled to 179-6 at tea, Elgar edging Nauman (2-38) to Babar at first slip after digging in for a valuable half-century.

George Linde chipped in with 35 before falling to the recalled Hasan Ali and Rabada made an unbeaten 21 before making a big impact with the ball as South Africa hit back late in the day to take the upper hand.

Proteas in a spin

Pakistan are without a win in five Tests and arrived home smarting from a 2-0 loss in New Zealand but made an encouraging start to this two-match series.

A brilliant slip catch from Butt off the bowling of Afridi accounted for Aiden Markram, but it was the spinners who did the bulk of the damage. Yasir got rid of Faf du Plessis, while Nauman – the fourth-oldest Test debutant for Pakistan aged 34 – claimed the scalps of skipper Quinton de Kock and Elgar as South Africa folded.

Rapid Rabada on brink of 200 club

Rabada came steaming in with the new ball to turn the tide, sending Abid Ali's off stump cartwheeling out of the ground before snaring Butt, who was caught at leg gully.

The paceman is now just one away from two 200 Test scalps and will come charging in again on day two with Pakistan in the mire after Maharaj trapped Babar in front and Afridi was bowled by Nortje for a duck.

Ross Taylor claimed New Zealand's handling of spinner Yasir Shah will dictate how the first Test pans out as he reflected on becoming his country's most capped cricketer.

The Black Caps reached 222-3 at stumps on day one in Mount Maunganui on Saturday as Taylor (70) and captain Kane Williamson (94 not out) helped the Kiwis rebuild from 13-2.

Taylor's appearance brought up a notable personal milestone as he broke the record for most games for New Zealand in all formats with 438, overtaking Daniel Vettori, and the 36-year-old was given a standing ovation at the Bay Oval as he went to the crease.

He marked the landmark appearance in style, putting on 120 runs for the third wicket with Williamson before he fell to Shaheen Afridi (3-55).

"Every time you represent your country, it's a special moment," Taylor told a media conference.

"To represent them 400-odd times and to get the record, it's not what I play for, but it's nice to have got it and a special occasion. 

"I got some nice words from BJ Watling and the team this morning and it felt a little bit like my 100th Test [he now has 104], going out to bat today with a standing ovation. 

"I didn't hear what the ground announcer said, but he must have told the crowd, because I'm sure they wouldn't have known."

Taylor acknowledged that while New Zealand were in a good position leg-spinner Yasir (0-56) remains the danger man.

He added: "When Yasir Shah was bowling, we were on our toes. Quite often the spinners in New Zealand don't bowl much on day one or at all, so it shows what type of wicket it is. 

"Obviously, we are happy with where we are at 222-3 and would have taken that at the start of the day. 

"But it's how we turn up on Sunday and get through that first hour or two that really dictates how good a day this really was.

"Yasir Shah is a world-class bowler and even the way he bowled today, just trying to get through his overs, pick and choose his moments when he tried to attack.

"We've got a bit of luck and we're fortunate to get through that stage. But he's definitely going to play a big part tomorrow and whenever we bat again."

Shaheen claimed Pakistan's sloppiness in the field cost them as they put down key chances, including dropping Williamson when he was on 18.

"They batted hard but I am frustrated by the dropped catches. It's disappointing when you drop catches," he said.

"We did try to get wickets early on with new balls and took two wickets but if you don't take catches it will be difficult.

"It's a part of the game but if you need to win matches you have to take catches and have to improve the fielding. 

"They know how to play in their conditions so it is tough, but the ball is still new and we will come hard to take wickets as early as possible."

Pakistan picked two leg-spinners and Azhar Ali chose to bat after winning the toss in the first Test against an unchanged England side at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Shadab Khan was selected along with Yasir Shah to give Azhar a pair of leg-spinners to call upon, with Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Abbas the seamers in a dangerous attack.

England went with the same team that sealed a 2-1 series victory over West Indies at the same venue last week, Ben Stokes strictly playing as a batsman due to a quad injury.

Dom Bess did not bowl a single ball in that win over the Windies in Manchester, but the spinner retains his place in the first of three Tests.

The in-form Stuart Broad and James Anderson will again spearhead the England attack and will be hoping to make early inroads in Pakistan's first Test since February.

 

England team: Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, James Anderson.

Pakistan team: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah.

Australia are seven wickets from securing a whitewash of Pakistan in their two-match series after another dominant day in Adelaide, though Yasir Shah did restore some pride for the tourists with a century.

Pakistan resumed day three of the second Test on 96-6 but a stand of 105 between Yasir and Babar Azam did see them mount a recovery of sorts.

Yasir had never previously scored 50 in Test cricket but struck 13 fours en route to 113, while Babar fell three short of a second successive hundred. Pakistan could still only manage 302 in reply to 589-3 declared and were forced to follow on against an Australia attack that continued to make frequent inroads into the visitors' batting line-up.

As they did in the final session of day two, Pakistan gave away cheap wickets at the start of their second innings and closed on 39-3, still trailing by 248 runs and destined for an emphatic defeat to end a winless tour.

Rain stopped play prematurely and could frustrate Australia on day four, but with a better forecast for day five, the hosts should have plenty of time to wrap up a 2-0 win.

Babar had been the only Pakistan batsman to emerge from day two with any credit and he continued to take the fight to Australia as he closed on a third Test century.

It did not arrive, however, as Mitchell Starc, who took 6-66 in the first innings, drew a thick edge and Tim Paine claimed a diving one-handed catch.

Shaheen Shah Afridi was trapped lbw from the next delivery but Starc missed out on a hat-trick and Yasir forged an unlikely ninth-wicket stand with Mohammad Abbas (29).

Yasir produced a gritty performance that belied his Test average of 12, yet it was more by luck than judgment that he reached his century, clipping just beyond the grasp of Pat Cummins at mid-on.

He sank to his knees and kissed the ground before twirling his bat in celebration of a feat few would have anticipated.

It was Cummins who broke Pakistan's resistance, a brutal short ball seeing Abbas caught at gully before a similar delivery was top-edged by Yasir, Nathan Lyon hanging on at deep backward square to end the best batting innings of his career.

However, Pakistan's celebratory mood did not last long into their follow-on. Josh Hazlewood trapped Imam-ul-Haq with the final ball before dinner and Steve Smith took a stunning catch at second slip to dismiss Azhar Ali as he tried to work Starc to leg. 

Intermittent rain saw the covers come on several times but Hazlewood was able to take the key wicket of Babar before inclement weather called a halt to proceedings for the day, although that will not dampen the spirits of an Australia side set to win by a massive margin.

Misbah-ul-Haq has backed spinner Yasir Shah to have a big impact for his Pakistan side as they prepare to take on Australia in an upcoming two-match Test series.

The Pakistan side have undergone a revamp following a frustrating 2019, with Azhar Ali replacing Sarfraz Ahmed as Test captain, while Misbah has been appointed as both coach and chief selector.

Australia provide Pakistan's first opponents in the longest format since this overhaul, with matches set for Brisbane and Adelaide later this month.

Yasir was one of the players involved when Pakistan last toured against Australia in 2016-17, as the visitors succumbed to a 3-0 series whitewash.

And Misbah claims the experience from three years ago means Yasir, who took 1-24 from Australia A's brief first innings in this week's warm-up match, is well placed to spearhead Pakistan's bowling attack this time around.

"Our young fast bowlers and spinner Yasir Shah are our biggest positives," the coach told a news conference. "[Yasir] is aware of Australian conditions and he also had better preparation playing domestic cricket at home.

"He bowled lengthy spells there and he knows exactly what was missing during his previous tour here. So I am hoping that our preparations are better than before.

"It's important for us to take 20 wickets because you can't win without it. I feel our batting line-up is capable enough to put up 400 to 450 runs on the board, so it also helps our bowlers along the way."

Pakistan lost 2-0 in the sides' Twenty20 International series that ended last week, but Misbah believes the introduction of several fresh faces has given the tourists cause for optimism.

"Overall, when you try out different options and search for solutions, you have go through all of that," Misbah said.

"Obviously, when you are settled, you get the results. But if you want to improve a few things, you should also think about the future for back-ups.

"If you need to try new players, you need to look past that [the loss]. Obviously, we were looking to win those games. But we were looking far ahead by giving a few players the experience they need.

"There are a lot of positives for us, and this is definitely going to help Pakistan in the future."

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