South Africa elect to bat in first Test against Pakistan
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, making his 100th appearance as captain, won the toss and elected to bat in the first test against Pakistan at the Wanderers on Friday.
The Proteas have kept the same side that was successful in the Test series against New Zealand last month, resisting the urge to play an all-out pace attack in the opener of a three-match series.
Robin Peterson continues in the role of spinner, while Dean Elgar has been retained at number seven after his maiden Test century in the last Test.
Pakistan hand debuts to 23-year-old left-handed opener Nasir Jamshed, who will open the batting with Mohammad Hafeez, and fast bowler Rahat Ali.
The wicket has enough grass on it to suggest the ball will offer movement in the morning but it is expected to flatten out as the test progresses.
Friday is “Biff Day” at the Wanderers, a tribute to Smith’s achievement, which has seen him take charge of 99 tests for South Africa and one for a World XI. It is also his 32nd birthday.
Pakistan are playing their first Test in South Africa for six years, having lost their last series 2-1 in 2007. They have two wins in nine tests in the country in all but none at the Wanderers.
They have also not played a Test for six months, suffering a 1-0 loss in a three-match series in Sri Lanka in July last year.
South Africa are coming off a whitewash of New Zealand in a two-Test home series last month.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Gul, Younis Khan