Pakistan's cricket team celebrate after they won the final match against Bangladesh at the Asia Cup Cricket Tournament in Dhaka March 22, 2012.
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South Africa come into the contest after a commendable performance in the last few years. The world No.1 Test side is unbeaten since 2011 and have not lost away from home since 2006. and will be keen to keep the momentum. On the other hand, Pakistan will play after the recent loss to Zimbabwe.
South Africa have 11-3 win-loss record against Pakistan from 21 Tests, out of which seven Tests ended in a draw.
Pakistan: Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be the cynosure of all eyes, as he is expected to cause havoc on South Africa like he did to England last year. Abdur Rehman will be expected to take wickets in the Test and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq has hinted that seamer Mohammad Irfan could play on Monday. Ahmed Shehzad has replaced Mohammad Hafeez's replacement, probably
South Africa: Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir has been included in the squad keeping in mind the dry and flat pitch at Abu Dhabi but all-rounder JP Duminy would be preferred for the first Test. All-rounder and senior player Jacques Kallis, who has not played Test since February this year, could be seen in action again.
Pakistan will rely heavily on the bowlers like Mohammad Irfan and Abdur Rehman. Mohammad Hafeez's absence will place more responsibility on Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad. The performance of the batsmen and the slow bowlers will be the kept on Monday.
It's not going to be easy for South Africa to beat Pakistan as playing in Abu Dhabi will be a challenge in itself because of the nature of the pitch and humid climate. It will be interesting to see how Dale Steyn fair in the trying condition.
South Africa are favourites to win.
Pakistan Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Junaid Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Shan Masood, Umar Amin, Younis Khan, Zulfiqar Babar
South Africa Squad: Graeme Smith (c), AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile
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