Injury hit Pakistan strive for comeback | Pakistan Today

Injury hit Pakistan strive for comeback

All the hype around the Test series before the first Test at Johannesburg was centered around the bowling strengths of both teams. While South Africa boasted of a wonderful opening pair of Steyn and Philander with Morne Morkel turning out to be an effective support cast, if there was one team that could match the hosts bowling line up was Pakistan. Boasting of an impressive opening combo of Umar Gul and Junaid Khan, Pakistan also had arguably the best spinner in recent times, Saeed Ajmal. It took just three and a bit days for the myth to be broken. Although the Pakistan bowlers put up an impressive show particularly in the first innings, their batsman were found susceptible against Steyn as the hosts blew the visitors away by a massive margin. The series now moves to the beautiful Table mountains as the hosts seek to gain an unassailable 2-0 advantage. The world No. 1 Test team looks complete on paper. Graeme Smth has led the team from the front while the middle order is packed with talent and experience. Robin Peterson has had little to do so far in the series, but with a dry pitch expected at Newlands, he will have some work to do. Vernon Philander has an enviable record at Cape Town having grabbed 21 wickets in just 3 Test matches. Steyn comes fresh from achieving his career best match figures of 11/60 at Johannesburg. Morne Morkel looked slightly rusty at the Wanderers but the hosts can count on him to put in a good show at Cape Town. On the other hand, lack of form and injuries continue to haunt the visitors. Haris Sohail joined opener Taufeeq Umar in the injury sidelines. Imran Farhat joined the squad ahead of the two day match against a Cobras XI and acquitted himself pretty well against a modest attack. Hafeez missed out of the practise match with illness while Azhar Ali failed yet again. The visitors will hope for the two to get back to their best form if they are to cause any sort of panic in the South African bowling ranks. With three successive home wins on a trot, the hosts will certainly need no reason to change the winning combination. Mohammad Irfan scalped match figures of 7/40 against the Emerging Cobras XI. He was surprisingly left out of the Wanderers Test and Pakistan might not make the same mistake twice. Rahat Ali is the man most likely to make way for the lanky pacer.
Azhar Ali and Saeed Ajmal failed to make any sort of impact during the 1st Test, but the team management might not be tempted into making too many reckless changes. Junaid Khan is out due to a thigh injury. Given the nature of the pitches in South Africa which have pace and bounce you have to keep playing your shots because it is not possible to survive without being positive – Out of favour keeper, Kamran Akmal has a few words of advice for his former mates.
When you have the right game plans – when you have plan A, B and even C – you can adjust your plan to where the game is – Alviro Petersen is confident about adjusting to the dry pitch at Newlands.

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