• Three maybes for day two in Centurion

    We plot three possibilities for day two of the first Test between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.

    A big dig from Temba Bavuma?

    Bavuma passed a late fitness test to play in the series opener – and is due a big one. His first and last Test century came almost two years ago, against England at Newlands in Cape Town. March 2018’s 95 not out against Australia reminded all of his talent, but the diminutive right-hander needs another innings of genuine substance to continue justifying selection.

    Lower-order defiance?

    Tail-ender Dale Steyn has been deployed as a nightwatchman, effectively protecting wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and burgeoning all-rounder Keshav Maharaj. South Africa’s lower order lacks depth in the absence of the injured Vernon Philander. The ability of the rest to defy and thrive – or not – against an inspired opposition attack, spearheaded by seamers Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi, will be telling.

    Steyn and Duanne Olivier in tandem?

    The third innings will likely commence on Thursday. Steyn has become South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket after surpassing former seamer Shaun Pollock’s 421, while fellow right-armer Duanne Olivier has welcomed a maiden five-for in international competition. Steyn wasn’t that effective, despite reaching the record on day one, while Olivier was superb – and watching them as individuals and collectively should yield plenty of entertainment.

    Photo: Gallo

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