A couple of weeks after inflicting a whitewash over Sri Lanka away from home, the South African cricket team now travel to Pakistan for the first time in more than 13 years to take on Babar Azam's men in a two-Test and three T20I series, starting from January 26. Note that the two-match Test series will be a part of the 2019–21 ICC World Test Championship.
Since that unfortunate incident, circling Sri Lanka, in March 2009, the Pakistan cricket team has hosted only two-Test series in December 2019 and February 2020. And thus, this series against South Africa will be the first to host a non-Asian opponent since October 2007.
The two teams have had contrasting fortunes in the longest format, as South Africa are coming on the back of two back-to-back Test wins. On the other hand, Pakistan has lost three of their last five completed Test matches (two against New Zealand and one against England). Even the Pakistan vs South Africa head-to-head count in the longest format favours the latter, having won 15 of the 26 games the teams have played. Pakistan have won just four, while seven have ended in a draw.
|Pakistan vs South Africa head-to-head|
Winning the toss in a Test match is as important as it can get, and South Africa have had no luck in it so far. The team has, in fact, not won the toss in their last nine Tests. South Africa taking on Pakistan in Test cricket has rather been a one-sided show, as the Proteas won four of their last five Test matches against Pakistan. But with the first Test being played at Karachi, the table might turn, as the Babar Azam-led side has won three of their last five Tests at the venue.
As far as batting is concerned, Pakistan have hit an average of 49.4 fours and one six in their last five Tests. The numbers get a significant rise in South Africa, who have hit an average of 61.2 fours and 2.4 sixes in their last five Tests. Furthermore, while batting first, the hosts have scored an average of 258.2 runs in the last five Tests. South Africa, on the other hand, have accumulated an average of 298 runs while batting first.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Gianluigi Guercia