Live Cricket Streaming - South Africa vs Pakistan 2nd Test 2013
A warm welcome to one and all for the second Test between South Africa and Pakistan from Newlands. It is a special day for Graeme Smith as he captains South Africa for the 100th time in Tests, having earlier captained a ICC World XI against Australia in 2005. South Africa were superb at Johannesburg and they will look to seal the series.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have a huge task ahead of them after been decimated by the Steyn-Gun at Johannesburg. They have already been ravaged by injuries, with Junaid Khan unlikely to play in this match.
Pitch Report: There is not much of a grass covering on this pitch. The colour is a bit brown and there is not much moisture. This will be a much better surface for batting as there are not much cracks. The track will assist the spinners later on. The team that wins the toss should look to bat first.
South Africa have won the toss and elected to field
Smith: 'We will be bowling first. Not very sure but feel like there will be some moisture. Newlands does take a bit of turn. We want to control the game. A very proud moment for me and my family (100th Test as captain). We are playing the same team. The guys understand what needs to be done. '
Misbah-ul-Haq:'We would have chosen to bat as well. Junaid and Rahat are out with injuries. Tanveer Ahmed and Irfan are back. I am happy to spend some time in the middle. Important to put a good total on the board. That will be our first target. No other changes except the 2 mentioned.'
South Africa (Playing XI): Graeme Smith(c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers(w), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel
Pakistan (Playing XI): Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq(c), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed(w), Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Irfan
It’s been a year and two months since South Africa last lost a Test match, and their unbeaten run currently sits at 13 matches. That might be a long way off from some of the invincible teams of yore, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are currently one of the most powerful sides in world cricket.
Barring Alviro Petersen, they have a top order who all average either over or close to 50 in Tests, and their bowlers are starting to build a reputation as the kind of attack you really don’t want to mess with. That could very well continue at Newlands on Thursday, especially with conditions expected to have more on offer for the quicks than what was first expected.
Newlands, traditionally, has given a little bit extra to the spinners, but with the pitch being given a good watering before it was covered up on Tuesday and some rain forecast for the morning before the Test starts, there should be enough juice in the track to give the South African seam attack something to work with - if they bowl first, of course.
The flipside to that coin, or the offside to that wicket, is that if Pakistan wins the toss and bowls first, the South African batsmen will have their work cut out for them. The visitors might not have been that impressive in the first match, but they doubtless learnt their lessons: bowling length alone doesn’t work against South Africa.
With Junaid Khan likely to miss out owing to - as Pakistan’s coach Dav Whatmore called it - “an open thigh wound”, the much-talked-about Mohammed Irfan looks set to make his Test debut. The lanky paceman didn’t play in the first Test, to some surprise. While he does have the tendency to lose pace if bowling for long spells, the quick has a towering reputation which could intimidate some of the South African batsmen. He’s likely to pepper them with the short stuff, but the short stuff is what South Africa is used to - they do face Dale Steyn in the nets, after all.
Irfan can bang it in quick, and if he hits the right lengths on the pitch at Newlands, the top order will face a tricky session with the new ball first up. Hopes of a Test match should never rest on one player alone, though, and it will be up to his senior counterpart, Umar Gul, to get a bit smarter with his bowling. While Gul can be incredibly accurate and land a yorker at will, he struggles strategically, something the South Africans easily exploit. Preying on any sort of mental fragility has become a hallmark of the Proteas, and it’s one of the characteristics that has made them so feared.
The wounded tiger is a dangerous beast, though, and in the lead-up to the Test, every single South African player who was ushered into a press conference admitted this. The red flag, they called it. If there is one team in world cricket who can come back strongly and viciously after being so down and out, it’s Pakistan.
South Africa hasn’t been challenged in its home summer yet. The team is unlikely to rest on its laurels, and Pakistan will need to scrap if they want to get anything from the second Test.