Sarfraz's fate hangs in the balance as Proteas recall big guns for third ODI

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Sarfraz Ahmed (l) is under the microscope.

A chance to gain a decisive advantage in the five-match series will be the main target for both teams when South Africa and Pakistan meet for the third ODI at Centurion on Friday.

The two teams are locked at 1-1 in the series after the hosts cancelled out Pakistan’s win at Port Elizabeth with a five-wicket victory at Durban.

Ahead of the pivotal third ODI, we take a look at the key talking points.

PROTEAS RING IN THE CHANGES

After resting pacer Dale Steyn and wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock, South Africa have recalled the big guns for the final three ODIs. Along with Steyn and de Kock, pacer Beuran Hendricks has been added to the squad for the remainder of the series.

The left-armer has played seven T20s for the Proteas but is yet to be capped at the one-day level. To make way for the trio, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson and Heinrich Klaasen have been omitted from the squad.

Faf du Plessis and his men had been attempting various combinations for the World Cup in the first two ODIs but will wear a more settled look with the return of Steyn and de Kock. Hendricks, meanwhile, is coming into the series on the back of a highly successful Mzansi Super League stint where he picked up a total of 12 wickets.

Steyn is back for the Proteas.

Steyn is back for the Proteas.

SARFRAZ IN THE DOCK

South Africa’s win in the second ODI was overshadowed by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s controversial comments towards all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. The crude comments were picked up by the stump mics towards the end of the game and has landed the Pakistan captain in deep trouble heading into the third ODI.

After the outrage over social media, Sarfraz was forced to issue an apology on Twitter but the troubles for the wicketkeeper batsman are not over yet. The ICC have confirmed that they are looking into the matter and should the Pakistan skipper fall foul of the anti-racism code, he could be docked four to eight demerit points.

That could see Sarfraz being suspended for the remainder of the series. Must be tense moments in the Pakistan camp.

The Pakistan skipper is in the dock for his remarks.

The Pakistan skipper is in the dock for his remarks.

PAKISTAN PONDER SHAN MASOOD INCLUSION

A batting failure at the top was what cost Pakistan dear in the second ODI at Durban with eight wickets falling for just 112 runs. It took a superb half-century from pacer Hasan Ali to help the visitors put up a respectable total but Pakistan will want more from their frontline batsmen come Friday.

After the horror show at Durban, the visitors will be mulling an ODI debut for Shan Masood after his displays in the Test series. Masood ended up as Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in the series on his international recall and he could be brought into the playing XI to provide some solidity to the batting order.

A preferred opening role might be difficult to come for Masood with Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman already present but he could possibly replace Hussain Talat who could muster only two runs on his ODI debut at Durban.

Masood is in the frame for an ODI debut.

Masood is eyeing an ODI debut.

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