South Africa Test skipper Quinton de Kock and Pakistan captain Babar Azam pose with the Test series trophy at National Stadium Karachi on Monday. LAHORE: Pakistan and South Africa resume their Test rivalry after almost 13 years when the first contest of the two-match series commences at the National Stadium in Karachi on Tuesday (today). This will be Pakistan’s first home Test series against South Africa in more than 13 years. South Africa, who last visited Pakistan in 2007 and won the two Test-match series 1-0, will aim to continue their winning streak over the hosts. Both sides met for the first time in 1995 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, which the home team won on the fifth day by 324 runs. In 26 Tests played between the sides so far, South Africa have won 15, while Pakistan have been victorious on four occasions. The last Test between the both sides was in January 2019 in Johannesburg which the home team won by 107 runs. Pakistan have hosted seven Test matches at their home soil in which the hosts have won one, lost two and four were drawn. In the only Test match hosted at National Stadium in Karachi in October 2007, South Africa defeated Pakistan by 160 runs, becoming only the second team in history to beat Pakistan at the venue. The match in the port city of Karachi starting today also marks a significant vote of confidence for Pakistan where international cricket was suspended following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team’s bus in Lahore in 2009. Foreign teams refused to tour the terror-hit country on security fears and it was only in the last six years that Pakistan hosted limited-over series before Test cricket was revived for the first time in a decade with the visit of Sri Lanka in December 2019. Babar Azam will make his Test captaincy debut today. Babar has recovered from a thumb injury that kept him out of the two-Test series in New Zealand, which Pakistan lost 2-0. “I missed the series against New Zealand, but it is a proud moment for me that I am doing my captaincy debut in my own country,” Babar told media on Monday. “South Africa is a good team. You can’t take them lightly, but conditions suit us more because most of us have played here.” In the current Pakistan Test squad, Azhar Ali has faced the opponents in 10 Test matches scoring481 runs at an average of 25.31. Babar has scored 221 runs at an average of 36.83 from three Test matches with two half-centuries. Among the bowlers, left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi has featured in two Test matches against South Africa, taking nine wickets. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf in his one outing against the tourists took six wickets. Among the South African touring party, captain Quinton de Kock has scored 251 runs in three Tests against Pakistan at 62.75. Former captain Faf du Plessis follows with a tally of 246 runs in seven Tests at 27.33. Among the bowlers, Kagiso Rabada leads the pack with 17 wickets that he picked up in the last series between the two sides at 18.70. Pakistan are out of the race to qualify for the World Test Championship final at Lords in June while South Africa have only a mathematical chance to make it with India, New Zealand, Australia and England among the top contenders. South Africa have never been an easy side to beat, but them playing after 13 years in Pakistan will be an advantage for us, and we have a great chance to improve our record against them. The two Test matches in the ICC World Championship are very important for us and we will try to get maximum points out of it to improve our position on the table.” Babar said the series against South Africa was an important one he was sure that the players selected in the squad had the potential and hunger to give best results in the series.” Only South Africa coach Mark Boucher has previously played red-ball cricket in Pakistan, while the experienced Du Plessis has twice toured Pakistan over the last four years but played only in the Twenty20 format. Du Plessis led a World XI team to Pakistan for three Twenty20s in 2017 and then last year represented Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League playoffs. Boucher said: “Pakistan are a dangerous side at home; we will have to come up with a proper strategy to beat them at their own backyard. The wickets here in Pakistan are batting friendly, and we are relying on our batsmen to score runs. Their confidence will be high after scoring runs against Sri Lanka. Our fast bowlers will have to work very hard to get wickets.” Boucher said Pakistan bowlers would have home advantage, so this series would be a test for our batsmen. But once they are successful in occupying the crease, they will be able to score freely. We are excited to play in Pakistan again, and expect a great series ahead with all focus on the game.” Squads: Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Tabish Khan. South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Kyle Verreynne, Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde, Daryn Dupavillon, Marco Jansen.