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|Theunis de Bruyn||7||17||1||0||41.18|
|Quinton de Kock||129||138||18||1||93.48|
|Theunis de Bruyn||49||82||9||0||59.76|
|Quinton de Kock||18||38||2||0||47.37|
South Africa lead the test series against Pakistan 2-0, but the scoreline hardly tells us the complete picture. Despite it being a rather one-sided affair so far, the series has been far from boring. Both teams are now gearing up to play the third and final match of the series which is to be played at the Wanderers, Johannesburg from 11th to 15th January. Going into the next game, one change is inevitable for the Proteas is the absence of Faf du Plessis. Their skipper is suspended for one test following slow over rate. The visitors will certainly fancy their chances against a side whose plans will certainly be disrupted in their skipper's absence. Considering what has happened in the previous two games, Pakistan are likely to improve and with du Plessis absent, it is likely to be a closer game than what has been in the series so far.
In the absence of Faf du Plessis, who is suspended for slow over-rate in the second test of the series which the Proteas won comprehensively by nine wickets, Dean Elgar will serve as the stand-in captain for South Africa.
Considering the form Du Plessis was in, it is a massive setback for the Proteas. In the 27 tests captained by du Plessis, South Africa have won 17 which speaks volumes about his leadership. Prior to the series, South Africa had some major issues with their middle order. We might see those issues creeping up again with no experienced batsman available in the middle order.
Although their batting might not be what it was in the opening two tests, their bowling will be at its full strength. The combination of Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier, and, Kagiso Rabada troubled the visitors in the opening test and the addition of Philander only made the matter worse for them. We haven't seen South Africa play spinners too often at Johannesburg and we expect a 4-man pace attack yet again.
Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Zubayr Hamza, Quinton de Kock, VD Philander, Kagiso Rabada, DW Steyn, Duanne Olivier.
Clearly, it's been Pakistan's batting that has failed to perform in the opening two matches of the series. Barring Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, and Imam ul Haq, none of the batsmen has looked at ease even at least once in the series.
Considering their ongoing misery with the bat, we might see Pakistan strengthening their lower order by including a couple of all-rounders. Shadab Khan could come in for Yasir Shah who hasn't really been as effective as he was in UAE against New Zealand.
Another possibility of change is the inclusion of Faheem Ashraf who can play some handy knocks down the order. Sarfraz Ahmed's form is under the scanner and it's high time for him to play a captain's knock. He was also criticized for blaming bowlers after the last match's performance. All in all, Pakistan are a high-quality team, but the lack of consistency across the session has more often than not cost them the match. If they can be more consistent, they certainly have the talent to topple even the best in the business.
Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.
Johannesburg's surface is famous, rather infamous, for the poor rating it received from ICC when India toured South Africa. If the surface happens to be anywhere similar to what it was like back then, it's not going to be easy for the batsmen. Having said that, it's already been a year since that happened, and we might see the regular Johannesburg surface. The second and the third days are expected to be the easiest days for batting. Anything over 350 in the first innings will be a good total on this track.
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With surface likely to deteriorate over the course of the match, win the toss and bat first will be the way to go here.
The absence of South Africa's regular skipper has certainly reduced the disparity between the two sides. Pakistan have struggled with both their batting and bowling in the first two games and it will take a lot of effort to improve. South Africa, on the other hand, have most of their players in good rhythm. Considering what has happened in the past two matches, the surface, and the teams on paper, South Africa are better-placed to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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