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Rawalpindi Test: Pakistan win toss, opt to bat against South Africa

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat in the second and final Test in Rawalpindi against South Africa on Thursday.

Pakistan retained the playing squad which won the first Test by seven wickets inside four days at Karachi last week.  Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, who became the oldest Test cricketer in 72 years to take a five-wicket haul in an innings on Test debut, got another chance on a dry wicket similar to Karachi.

Nauman and experienced legspinner Yasir Shah bagged 14 wickets and skittled South Africa for two below-par totals of 220 and 245 in the first Test.

Babar Azam, captaining Pakistan in his first Test series, said the wicket looked dry as the home team chases its first Test series victory against South Africa in 18 years. Pakistan last beat the Proteas at home in 2003.

“The wicket looks dry and we will try to put them under pressure by putting runs on board,” Babar said at the toss. “We don’t want to relax after taking the lead and will push for 2-0.”

South Africa brought in fast bowling all-rounder Wiaan Mulder, who played two home Test matches against Sri Lanka. Mulder replaced Lungi Ngidi in the only change Proteas made from the first Test playing XI.

Quinton de Kock, who will step down from Test captaincy after the series, will be hoping his team would have learnt from the mistakes in the first Test.

The Proteas brought in two all-rounders George Linde and Mulder to strengthen their batting lineup against the spin threat of Nauman and Shah.

Teams

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan, Nauman Ali, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi.

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder. Umpires: Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza, Pakistan.