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Skipper Sarfraz Relying on Yasir to Tilt Scales in Pakistan's Favour

Cricketnext Staff |December 25, 2018, 6:20 PM IST
Skipper Sarfraz Relying on Yasir to Tilt Scales in Pakistan's Favour

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is banking on his ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah to deliver the goods as Pakistan chase their maiden Test series win in South Africa.

"If you talk about South Africa's Test series against Sri Lanka recently, the pitch was different. All foreign teams struggle there, just like all Asian teams come to South Africa and struggle here. Here, the conditions are different but we do have a world-class spinner," said Sarfraz ahead of the Boxing Day Test which will be staged at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Shah has been in impeccable bowling form this year having already scalped 37 wickets in 10 innings in 2018. He recently became the quickest bowler in the history of the game to reach 200 wickets reaching the milestone in just his 33rd Test breaking an 82-year-old record and Ahmed was confident the leg-spinner will be a tough nut to crack for the South Africans.

"He took 200 wickets in 33 Tests and we know South Africa haven't played a top-quality leg-spinner in three years. So we have an advantage, we have Yasir Shah, and hopefully, they will struggle against him," said Ahmed.

While the Pakistan side are upbeat about their chances, history does not quite support their cause. The Asian side have won just two of the 12 Tests they have played in the country, lost 10 and drawn just the one. They are also coming to South Africa on the back of a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of New Zealand in Dubai.

However, Ahmed insisted that having a coach who has been at the helm of affairs in South Africa and knows the conditions well is bound to assist them this time around.

"We have clarity about what we'll do because we have a coach who has coached in South Africa," quipped Ahmed. "If you talk about the history of Centurion pitches, the fourth innings is very difficult here.

"Whoever wins the toss would like to bat first. No one would want to bat in the fourth innings if they're chasing over 200."

Azhar Ali also resonated his captain's thought and said that the whole side was looking forward to the three-Test series.

"The morale of the team is very good," he insisted. "Everybody is working really hard and is up for the challenge. It's a very exciting challenge obviously, which brings lots of opportunities and everyone is looking forward to it."

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
ENG
5 4 1 0 8 +1.86
2
AUS
5 4 1 0 8 +0.81
3
NZ
4 3 0 1 7 +2.16
4
IND
4 3 0 1 7 +1.02
5
BAN
5 2 2 1 5 -0.27
6
SL
5 1 2 2 4 -1.77
7
WI
5 1 3 1 3 +0.27
8
SA
5 1 3 1 3 -0.20
9
PAK
5 1 3 1 3 -1.93
10
AFG
5 0 5 0 0 -2.08

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more