Proteas not sure what to expect from the Rawalpindi pitch

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Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate wicket
Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate wicket
Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
  • Proteas top-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen isn’t sure of what to expect from the Rawalpindi pitch.
  • It will be the second time South Africa will be playing a Test in Rawalpindi.
  • Van der Dussen also said Pakistan’s bowling attack covers all bases regardless of the surfaces they’re confronted with.

Proteas top-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen isn’t quite sure how the pitch in Rawalpindi will play ahead of the second Test on Thursday.

The Test in Rawalpindi will be South Africa’s second Test in the city after their appearance there in 1997.

That particular test, notable for tons on debut for Syed Ali Naqvi and Azhar Mahmood, was drawn.

“It's difficult for me to say something about the pitch. It looks like most of the grass has been taken off and it's difficult to say how hard will they make it. My first impression of it is that there won’t be much for the new ball,” Van der Dussen said.

“There was a fair amount of reverse swing in Karachi and I can’t say it will play more of a role. Reverse swing is something we came here prepared for and we played it decently throughout. It’ll play the same role and there are bowlers who can exploit that well.”

With Rawalpindi being 1392km from Karachi, where SA lost the first Test comprehensively, the conditions are as different as Cape Town’s would be from Johannesburg.

The difference is that Pakistan is still in the grip of winter, meaning the pleasant conditions in Karachi have been swapped for a “Highveld winter game” that Van der Dussen has come across in his career.

“Rawalpindi is quite chilly and the outfield is quite hard. The first thought I had when I stepped onto the field was that it was a winter game on the Highveld. It’s new conditions and one tries to reference with something from home and make your game-plans according to that,” Van der Dussen said.

Chillier conditions means spin could be less of a factor as compared to Karachi.

That’s not much solace though to Van der Dussen, who said Pakistan’s bowling attack can operate in all kinds of conditions.

“Pakistan have a very balanced bowling line-up so it’s difficult to single anyone out. Their seamers bowl shorter, but intense spells with the reverse swing made it tricky for us. Every bowler posed their own threat for the batsmen,” Van der Dussen said.

“Nauman Ali bowled very well and Yasir Shah is always going to pose a threat to your technique against spin. It was a good performance from them.”

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