JOHANNESBURG (92 News) – South Africa won the toss and chose to bat first in the final Test against Pakistan at Johannesburg on Friday.
have already won the three-match series with 2-0.
captains at the Wanderers in Johannesburg in place of Faf du Plessis
, who is serving a one-match ban for slow over rate offenses in the first two tests.
Du Plessis’ absence also opens a place for batsman Zubayr Hamza
to make his test debut. South Africa retained its four-pronged pace-bowling attack of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier, who have been instrumental in South Africa's dominance of the series.
Pakistan made three changes to its team, bolstering batting and bowling with allrounders Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf coming into the team. Seam bowler Hasan Ali is also recalled. The inclusion of three players gives captain Sarfraz Ahmed five bowling options along with front-line fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas.
Azhar Ali has managed just 44 runs from the two matches so far in the ongoing Test series against South Africa and is hoping for a change of fortune in the final Test in Johannesburg.
With returns of 2, 6, 36 and 0 in a series where Pakistan have suffered frequent batting collapses and slipped to 2-0 ahead of the third Test, Ali has had a torrid time on tour.
While other batsmen have also struggled, the 33-year-old is one of the two specialist batsmen – the other is Fakhar Zaman – to have not scored a fifty.
His last Test century came in the previous Test series that Pakistan played, against New Zealand in the UAE, and while he has done decently at ‘home’ – one century and three half-centuries in his last nine innings – it is his away record that puts him under the scanner.
: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar (captain), Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier.
Imam ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.