• National Stadium in Karachi is ready to host the first Test between Pakistan and South Africa.

  • Babar Azam will lead Pakistan for the first time at home.

The historic Test series between Pakistan and South Africa is ready to get underway from Tuesday (January 26) at the National Stadium in Karachi. The Proteas side is on the tour of Pakistan for the first time in 14 years.

Karachi has been the home team’s hunting ground as they have lost only two games out of 42 test matches played at this venue. Interestingly, one of those defeats came against South Africa when they last toured in 2007. England is the only other team to win at this ground back in 2000.

Pitch report:

The pitch at Karachi offers assistance to spinners as they enjoy the slowness of the track. However, in the initial hours of play, seamers also get the advantage. Veteran Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir with 59 scalps to his credit is the leading wicket-taker at this venue. Teams batting first have won 7 games while on 17 occasions the second team registered a win.

Head to head record:

Matches played: 26 | Pakistan: 4 | South Africa: 15 | Draw: 7 | Tied: 0

Playing Combinations:

Pakistan

On Sunday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 17-man squad for the first Test against the Proteas.

Pakistan have continued with their chopping and changing policy, leaving out Shan Masood, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah and Haris Sohail from the squad that had lost the Test series in New Zealand earlier this month.

Babar Azam, who didn’t play the New Zealand series due to an injury, has returned to the outfit. It will be Azam’s first Test as Pakistan captain in a home series.

PAK XI: Babar Azam (c), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hassan Ali.

South Africa

The Quinton de Kock and Co. will be confident after defeating Sri Lanka at home 2-0. The Proteas shall be looking to field almost the same XI as they have played against the Lanka with some minor changes.

The return of pacer Kagiso Rabada will boost the confidence of the visiting side and both Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi can get a place in the playing XI for the series opener.

SA XI: Quinton de Kock (c, wk), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi/ Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje.

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