• Three maybes for day two at Newlands

    We look forward to three possibilities on day two of South Africa and Pakistan’s second Test at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.

    • Better from Mohammad Abbas

    The seamer, who was sidelined from the series opener by injury, was not at his best on Thursday’s return. He proved expensive and went without a wicket across nine ineffective overs – a stark comparison to the success he enjoyed against England and Australia last year.

    Friday, hopefully, will see him exploit conditions the way Vernon Philander does. Abbas and Philander are similar in pace, relying more on lateral movement through the air and off the seam.

    • Justification for Yasir Shah

    South Africa went into the match without spinner Keshav Maharaj, who was replaced by Philander. Pakistan, however, didn’t opt for an all-pace attack – and retained the leg-spinner. Shah’s role was bit-part in Centurion – and isn’t shaping up to be significant at Newlands.

    He needs a solid spell or two to vindicate being selected ahead of seamer Hasan Ali, especially as Pakistan are experimenting with the use of part-time medium-pacer Shan Masood.

    • A big contribution from Hashim Amla

    The veteran right-hander shook off some pressure with a tidy half-century in the fourth innings of the first Test at Centurion, but hasn’t  yet quietened all critics. Currently on 24 not out, Amla would do well to convert to a patient half-century – and then target three figures.

    It’s no secret he has not scored a Test century against a top-tier nation in two years, but a fourth at Newlands would be pleasing, indeed. He has Newlands Test tons against Australia, New Zealand and England – and wouldn’t mind adding Pakistan to the list.

    Photo: Gallo

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