Yasir to give Pakistan the edge over South Africa - Sarfraz

Pakistan begin their Test series with South Africa on Boxing Day and Sarfraz Ahmed believes Yasir Shah will be key for the visitors.

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah   -  Getty Images

Sarfraz Ahmed believes Yasir Shah could prove crucial in swinging the three-Test series with South Africa in Pakistan's favour.

Following a surprise 2-1 loss to New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan take on the Proteas over the next three weeks, starting at Centurion on Boxing Day.

South Africa were last in action in July, going down to two heavy defeats in Sri Lanka, and Sarfraz is hoping it will be trial by spin once again for Faf du Plessis' side.

Yasir became the fastest man to 200 Test wickets during the New Zealand series and Sarfraz has tipped the leg-spinner to be a key figure once more.

"All foreign teams struggle there [Sri Lanka], just like all Asian teams come to South Africa and struggle here," he said.

"Here, the conditions are different but we do have a world-class spinner. He took 200 wickets in 33 Tests and we know South Africa haven't played a top-quality leg-spinner in three years.

"So we have an advantage, we have Yasir Shah, and hopefully they will struggle against him."

Sarfraz's opposite number Du Plessis, meanwhile, believes the performances of South Africa's struggling batsmen - who were bowled out for under 130 three times in Sri Lanka - will be crucial to any success.

"He [Hashim Amla] has not scored the amount of runs he's wanted to in the last year, but it's a new season, he's coming off a fifty," Du Plessis said.

"It will be important for him to get off to a good start in the series, to settle the nerves and be confident.

"These things are a battle within yourself as a player, you must make sure you fight whatever you need to fight, and get over what you what need to get over in your head.

"The two sides have tremendous bowling attacks, both in good form. Our success in this series will be the form of the batters. Hopefully we get two or three guys who have a good series,"