The 3rd wicket partnership stand for both sides is a highly significant one. Amla and Kallis are South Africa’s best players and Azhar and Younis are Pakistan’s best players as the batting goes, specifically with regards to technique in defence and accumulating runs. Both number 3 and 4 batsmen respectively have an outstanding partnership record together and have a thorough understanding in the middle in developing partnerships. Azhar and Younis will always be remembered for piling on over 200 in just over 2 sessions against England in Dubai around this time last year. 22 wickets had fallen in the space of 4 sessions, however these two then got together to set out their stall, rein themselves in, churn out the runs, wear the Number 1s down and prolong the duration of the innings to make the process mentally and physically draining for Strauss and company as well as allowing their match winning bowlers some rest up in the pavilion. Younis was the main scorer, however Azhar came into his own by holding up an end, spending time in the middle and not giving a sniff of a chance to England’s bowler to dislodge him while Younis was beginning to flow fluently at the other end. To bat 2 FULL sessions without losing a wicket in a series where ball had dominated bat and wickets had fallen in clusters was a remarkable occurrence. Despite the skill and personnel of both bowling groups, these two partnerships know how to grind, wear and frustrate bowling attacks with methodical and determined play and both sets of bowling groups will be hoping they don’t have to find each in the middle at the same time often during the series, if at all ever. I expect a 100+ partnership stand between the Azhar and Younis during the course of the series when they will find themselves in the middle together at 2 down. I expect at least 1 FULL session during the course of the 3 tests where they go unharmed without losing a wicket to grind away the South Africans with some resolute application. Kallis and Amla best showed their powers during the test at the Kia Oval in July last year where they made England look like Zimbabwe with a 600 odd for 2 score line. Also, during the opening day of their tour of Australia they stamped their mark and set the tone for the series in Brisbane on November 9th, only 2 down at stumps.
Azhar to make the highest individual score by a Pakistan batsmen during the course of the series. If not, YOUNIS