We plot three possibilities for day three of the first Test between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.
A dominant innings from one of the Proteas top order batters?
A 10-wicket victory is improbable, based on the wicket and the potential within the Pakistan bowling attack, but one trusts South Africa will win convincingly – with one of the top four likely to strike an 80-odd. Hashim Amla could certainly do with a significant contribution to restore waning faith, but Aiden Markram hasn’t reached 20 in his last six Test innings and would also be hungry for a match-winning contribution.
A bowling masterclass from Mohammad Amir and company?
A visiting bowling attack minus the injured Mohammad Abbas will be motivated to orchestrate an upset, and they have enough quality to work some magic if the bounce favours them on day three. Amir, Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali certainly have it in them to bowl the Proteas for under 147 if they all find their collective groove, particularly if the Centurion deck starts to play some third-day tricks.
Talk will turn to the second Test … particularly about Vernon Philander?
Attention will certainly start to turn toward the clash at Newlands as the Centurion encounter nears its end – and how Philander will fit back into the XI after recovering from injury. Duanne Olivier, despite his 10-wicket haul, will probably have to miss out – unless the Proteas go into the clash a batsman light, and Theunis de Bruyn sits out. Alternatively, spinner Keshav Maharaj could be deemed surplus to requirement in Cape Town, with Markram and Dean Elgar asked to lay down arms.