Cape Town – South Africa captain Graeme Smith won the toss and opted to bat on the opening day of the two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates on Monday.
A flat track is expected at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi with both captains eager to bat first.
“The morning session could do a bit so it's a crucial time but we expect it flatten out quickly,” Smith said after winning the toss.
South Africa welcomed back JP Duminy, who regained his place 11 months after rupturing his Achilles' tendon, as well as Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel, who missed the side's last Test outing in February.
Pakistan handed a debut to 34-year-old Zulfiqar Babar as one of two recognised spinners and also selected opening batsman Shan Masood, celebrating his 23rd birthday, for the first time
“I feel I'm living a dream right now. Making my debut against the world's best team is a dream come true,” he said.
Masood replaces Mohammad Hafeez, dropped after last month's loss in Zimbabwe.
A back injury kept out spinner Abdur Rehman while giant seamer Mohammad Irfan replaces Rahat Ali.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Khurrum Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Younus Khan, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn. – Reuters