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Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas has been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa after he failed to recover in time from a shoulder injury which kept him out of the third Test against New Zealand. Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed confirmed the news at a press conference at Centurion.

"Abbas is not fit for the first Test, hopefully he will be fit for the second Test," Sarfraz said. "Shadab Khan, too, will be back for the second Test, but Fakhar Zaman is fit."

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Shadab has been nursing a long-term groin injury while Fakhar only returned to action against a CSA Invitation XI after an absence of over a month.

On the back of a brilliant year overall and the two-Test series against Australia to be specific, Abbas was touted as a trump-card for Pakistan on the bouncing and seaming wickets in South Africa.

Abbas's absence means Pakistan are left with just three specialist seamers in Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi along with the allrounder Faheem Ashraf. That quartet is all set to feature in the Centurion Test now. Sarfraz also hoped the surface would allow the legspinner Yasir Shah some purchase in the later stages.

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