JP Duminy has been ruled out of the first Test against India, which starts in Mohali on Thursday.
Proteas captain Hashim Amla confirmed the news at a media session on Wednesday. Duminy split the webbing on his right hand while going for a hard return catch in the third One-Day International on 18 October and has not recovered fully.
Temba Bavuma, who made his highest Test score of 54 against Bangladesh in August, says he is ready to fill the void left by Duminy, who has played 29 Tests, scoring four hundreds at an average of 35.55.
‘They are big boots to fill,’ Bavuma admitted. ‘If you look at our top seven batters, those are all world-class cricketers. Coming into the team and being asked to fulfil any type of role is big but it’s something that I’m going to have to embrace if the opportunity comes my way.’
South Africa opening batsman Dean Elgar says he has prepared for the spin barrage which could start as early as the first over of the innings.
There is no doubt the Proteas are bracing themselves for a big spin bowling onslaught throughout the series as India look to exploit any possible weaknesses of the visiting batsmen.
‘It’s an aspect that we have been using with regards to our preparation,’ Elgar said at an open media session in Mohali.
‘We know that the three days leading up to a Test match are quite important and we have to cover a lot of aspects of batting on the subcontinent. You have to sharpen your game up when you are here, and that sometimes means facing a spinner with the new ball, which is totally foreign for us back home. It is something that you have to adapt to, we are all professionals, we have to adapt to the various encounters and conditions.
‘In India, day one, the first hour, the first session, there seems to be something in the wickets and it does look like the ball plays a part, whether it’s swinging or seaming around. It’s also a great opportunity to try and put the Indian bowlers under pressure. I do think their seamers are maybe a bit inexperienced and haven’t had a lot of success in international cricket, especially in Test cricket.’
Spin and the expected conditions at the IS Bindra Stadium have been the talking points in the build-up to the opening Test, and while pace remains the Proteas’ go-to option, Simon Harmer is confident that the spinners will be able to fulfil their roles according to the situation.
‘For me, the lines and the way you bowl depend on the wicket,’ Harmer said. ‘On the morning of day one you are not going to bowl wide outside of off-stump because you are going to go for runs, so it will be dependent on the wickets that we play on. On day four and five you have to look to be attacking, I don’t think you will look to bowl defensively unless you are 500 runs behind. I think our spinners will bowl attacking lines when the need arises.’