Pakistan-South Africa series commences from 26 January at the National Stadium in Karachi.

LAHORE (Dunya News) – Pakistan men’s national cricket team will be hoping to make the best out of the two Test-match series against South Africa, which commences from 26 January at the National Stadium in Karachi. This will be Pakistan’s first home Test against South Africa in more than 13 years. South Africa who last visited Pakistan in 2007 and won the two Test-match series 1-0, will aim to continue their winning streak over the host country.

Both sides met for the first time in 1995 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, which the home team won on the fifth day by 324 runs. In the 26 contests so far, South Africa have won 15, while Pakistan have been victorious on four occasions. The last Test between the both sides was in January 2019 in Johannesburg which the home team won by 107 runs.

Pakistan have hosted seven Test matches at their home soil (Pakistan) in which the hosts have won one, lost two and four have remained drawn. In the only Test match hosted at National Stadium in Karachi in October 2007, South Africa defeated Pakistan by 160 runs, becoming only the second team in history to beat Pakistan at the venue.

In the current Pakistan Test squad, Azhar Ali has faced the opponents in 10 Test matches scoring481 runs at an average of 25.31. Captain Babar Azam has scored 221 runs at an average of 36.83 from three Test matches with two half-centuries.

Among the bowlers, left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi has featured in two Test matches against South Africa, taking nine wickets. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf in his one outing against the tourists took six wickets.

Among the South African touring party, captain Quinton de Kock has scored 251 runs in three Tests against Pakistan at 62.75. Former captain Faf du Plessis follows with a tally of 246 runs in seven Tests at 27.33,

Among the bowlers, Kagiso Rabada leads the pack with 17 wickets that he picked up in the last series between the two sides at 18.70.

Pakistan head coach Misbah ul Haq said: “South Africa have never been an easy side to beat, but them playing after 13 years in Pakistan will be an advantage for us, and we have a great chance to improve our record against them.

“The two Test matches in the ICC World Championship are very important for us and we will try to get maximum points out of it to improve our position on the table.

“Playing at home ground is always encouraging for the players, and it reflected in our performances in the series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh last year.

“The series against South Africa is an important one, and I am sure the players selected in the squad have the potential and hunger to give best results in the series.”

South Africa head coach Mark Boucher said: “Pakistan is a dangerous side at home; we will have to come up with a proper strategy to beat them at their own backyard.

“The wickets here in Pakistan are batting friendly, and we are relying on our batsmen to score runs. Their confidence will be high after scoring runs against Sri Lanka. Our fast bowlers will have to work very hard to get wickets.

“Pakistan bowlers will have home advantage, so this series will be a test for our batsmen, but once they are successful in occupying the crease, they will be able to score freely.

“We are excited to play in Pakistan again, and expect a great series ahead with all focus on the game.”