Temba Bavuma’s 46 after being promoted up the order is our Play of the Day.
It’s the type of knock we’ve come to expect from Bavuma, but this time it was two positions up the order. With Quinton de Kock rested after his wicketkeeping duties, along with Faf du Plessis’ reluctance to move from his spot at No 5, Bavuma was slotted in at No 4 for the first time in his career.
And he didn’t look out of place whatsoever. The 27-year-old might well have given himself an extended run in this position, and it’s a pity that it’s taken the Proteas think tank four Tests to find a potential long-term option there. Bavuma is no stranger to walking out to the middle when his side is in trouble. At 47-2, and with Heino Kuhn struggling to get the ball away, a sturdy performance was needed from Bavuma, and he delivered.
I say it’s the knock we’ve come to expect of him, because while it was a noble effort, once again he couldn’t push on to make a big total. His 46 from 93 balls was the highest score in the Proteas innings, and the big contributions have been severely lacking from the top order. Bavuma has been his side’s most consistent performer, but if he walks away from this series with a high score of 59, he will feel like it’s been another missed opportunity to get a big score.
Alas, maybe his chances will improve at No 4, and if his 46 on day two at Old Trafford is anything to go by, then one feels a second Test century surely isn’t too far away.