South Africa v Pakistan third Test LIVE: Hosts inch ahead

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The series may be lost but Pakistan are putting up a fight on day two of the third Test against South Africa at The Wanderers.

The Proteas had reduced Pakistan to 53-4 after posting a first innings score of 262, but another counterattacking display from Babar Azam, with support from captain Sarfraz Ahmed, gave visitors hope. Pakistan were dismissed for 185 after another five-for from Duanne Olivier.

The hosts were in trouble in the second innings, reduced to 45-4 before recovering.

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Amir returns to Pakistan ODI team as Masood earns maiden call-up

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Mohammad Amir.

Fast bowler Mohammad Amir returned to Pakistan‘s ODI team as selectors announced a 16-man squad for the five-match series against South Africa which starts later this month.

The 26-year-old Amir was dropped from the ODI team after picking up just one wicket in his last eight ODIs, including three Asia Cup matches in the UAE in September.

Amir has bowled decently in the ongoing Test series in South Africa and found his way back into the team.

“Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas and Yasir Shah have been replaced by Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat, Usman Shinwari and Imad Wasim, respectively,” the Pakistan board said in a press release about the changes from the Test squad.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the squad was selected with the 2019 World Cup in England in mind.

“While selecting the squad, we have tried to maintain consistency, taking into consideration player performances in white-ball cricket as well as looking ahead to the upcoming ODI challenges, including the World Cup,” he said.

There was no place for left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan. Batsman Shan Masood and all-rounder Hussain Talat earned maiden ODI call-ups. Masood has been one of the few bright sports for Pakistan in the Test series in South Africa, showing great technique and control against a menacing South Africa pace attack.

The five-match series begins in Port Elizabeth on January 19, followed by games in Durban (January 22), Centurion (January 25), Johannesburg (January 27), and Cape Town (January 30).

Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari

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Coach Arthur hints at picking Shadab over Yasir in Johannesburg Test

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Shadab Khan.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has hinted at selecting leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan ahead of leg-spinner Yasir Shah in the third and final Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Pakistan’s plans were hampered by injury to Shadab in the first two Tests and Sarfraz Ahmed‘s team ended up a bowler short in both Tests. Also, Yasir ended up bowling lesser overs than all seamers as the Tests did not go into the fifth day.

Having lost the series 2-0, coach Arthur said he is keen to have five bowlers with space for all-rounders Shadab and Faheem Asharf.

“If we go with the five bowlers – which is a strategy I really, really like in these conditions – it would give us two all-rounders and three out-and-out pacers. For that to work, we need Shadab at seven. And, he has come back to full fitness now. So, his return gives us option,” Arthur was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

“If everything’s equal at Johannesburg, I’d like to go with the five-bowler strategy. Because, Shadab and Faheem combine as the sixth batsman and it gives us five out-and-out bowlers – which is a luxury we needed at Cape Town.”

When asked specifically who will be picked first among Shadab and Yasir, Arthur said: “It will be Shadab because he is a genuine all-rounder. It allows us, like we did at Lord’s [last year], to have him at seven, Faheem at eight, and then three bowlers which can be any of the quicks or even Yasir if the we think the pitch is going to turn.”

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