Pakistan players get going during practice session at Rawalpindi Stadium on Wednesday. LAHORE: Skipper Babar Azam and his charges will be looking for a series victory when they take on South Africa in the second and final Test starting at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Thursday (today). The hosts are eyeing to end a 17-year wait for a series win against South Africa and surpass the Proteas in the ICC Test Rankings. Victory would be poignant for Pakistan, who are hosting their biggest Test series since the deadly 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team halted international tours. Pakistan, whose lone series win over South Africa was at home in 2003, start as favourites in Rawalpindi after last week’s thumping seven-wicket win in Karachi. They stand to rise two places to fifth in the rankings with a series victory, while defeat would push South Africa down from fifth to sixth. Debutant Nauman Ali and fellow spinner Yasir Shah were the heroes in Karachi with seven wickets each, along with Fawad Alam whose first-innings century set up the win. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced yesterday that there would be no change in the 17-member outfit that was selected for the first Test Babar expects a repeat of the first Test. “We will be more focused and will try to get the result in our favour,” Babar told reporters during a virtual press conference on Wednesday. “The wicket in Rawalpindi looks similar to the one in Karachi, except that the conditions will be much cooler,” he added. “There’s no need of a fourth fast bowler as the wicket looks dry.” Babar, who is captaining Pakistan for the first time in Tests, said the win in Karachi was much needed after they went down heavily in both Tests away to New Zealand in December and January. “We have been telling the players to be confident. I don’t want them to take the pressure, learn from mistakes and do your best.” However, Rawalpindi will provide a different challenge for both teams as fast bowlers tend to dominate on it. When Pakistan beat Bangladesh there by an innings and 44 runs, 12 months ago, 20 of the 30 wickets went to fast bowlers. With that in mind, Pakistan are expected to drop Nauman, despite his wickets in Karachi, and give a Test debut to paceman Haris Rauf. South Africa have long struggled in the subcontinent, with Karachi their eighth defeat in a row in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. They lost their last eight wickets for 112 and 60 in the two innings in Karachi, falling for 220 and 245 all out. “I know that our record in the subcontinent is not the greatest,” said captain Quinton de Kock. “We have won a couple of series and I have been part of some but now we want to find a way to alter that.” Opener Dean Elgar has recovered from a bruised hand while wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi could come into the side after he was ruled out at the last minute due to back spasm. Captain de Kock had two below-par knocks, while experienced Faf du Plessis clearly struggled to negotiate the spin of Shah and could score only 23 and 10. And de Kock knows his batsmen have to do better than the two scores of 220 and 245 at Karachi. The tourists are likely to drop spinner George Linde to bring in one of their fast-bowling all-rounders Wiaan Mulder or Dwaine Pretorius. Rawalpindi has historically been a surface for quicks. With its cooler climate making sure the moisture stays on the surface, fast bowlers have been responsible for 498 first-class wickets, compared to 72 for spinners. However, South Africa’s coach Mark Boucher said it had a distinct lack of grass and described the pitch as “very dry like puzzle pieces,” and expects that spin will play a role. Temperatures will hover in the early 20C and Boucher believes that the moisture and dew will prevent the teams from getting in full days of play. Both teams are out of the ICC World Test Championship final race at Lord’s in June. Pakistan are No. 5 while South Africa slipped to No. 6 after losing the first Test. New Zealand have already qualified for the final with England, India and Australia all in the running for the remaining spot. Squads: Pakistan (from): Babar Azam (capt), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan. South Africa (from): Quinton de Kock (capt), 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.