England skipper Alastair Cook believes the fourth and final Test at Centurion can be used as an opportunity for the players to cement their places in the team.
Despite having secured the series, Cook feels there is still plenty to play for, with several of the players, including himself, looking to close the series with some form under their belts.
‘Winning in South Africa has been a fantastic achievement but it’s not the end point for this team,’ he said.
‘There are still places up for grabs. We’ve been carried by Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. People who are not in the squad want our places and the guys are aware of that. People are still trying to prove themselves and cement their places for next summer.’
The players he might be referring to in particular are the likes of James Taylor and Alex Hales, who have averaged 29.60 and 20 respectively in the series so far.
‘It would be great for James Taylor to go and get his first hundred, even Alex Hales too,’ he added.
What might be of concern to Cook is his partnership with Hales at the top of the order. They average only 27 together, and Cook’s high score has been 43, in the relatively simple chase of 74 at the Wanderers. He’s 117 runs away from becoming the first Englishman to reach 10 000 career Test runs, something he would have liked to have already achieved in this series.
‘It will be a great achievement if that happens. At the beginning of the tour I thought I could get there. That hasn’t quite happened, but I’ve got one or two more chances to get close.’