Captain Faf du Plessis has confirmed batsman Temba Bavuma will be in the Proteas XI for this week’s fourth and final Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Bavuma was ruled out of the series opener in Centurion due to injury. He returned to fitness for the second Test in Cape Town, but was not selected. The diminutive right-hander also wasn’t named in the XI for the third Test in Port Elizabeth.
In the interim, Bavuma hit 180 for the Lions in the 4-Day Domestic Series. The near double century marked the highest score of his first-class career.
‘I can tell you that Temba is back in the side,’ said Du Plessis.
‘The rest, we are still waiting to see what the weather does. We don’t have 100 percent clarity on that yet, but that is the one thing that is definite.
‘When you’re deep in a series already, the extra time in the nets is not going to make much difference. The challenge for us as a team is how strong we are mentally.
‘We know where we have been poor in our gameplans. We haven’t scored enough runs in our first innings and that’s a basic of Test cricket.’
The 29-year-old Bavuma, who has copped plenty of criticism for scoring only one century in 65 Test innings since 2014’s debut, will not bat at No 3 with Rassie van der Dussen set for that role.
He is the formal vice-captain of the Test squad and has been tipped to eventually succeed Du Plessis by assistant coach Enoch Nkwe.
‘Having worked with him in the last year and a half, he has got the qualities, there’s no question around that. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after Faf, he takes over. That will be great for South African cricket,’ said Nkwe earlier this month.
South Africa will be without fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in Johannesburg. He has been banned for one Test, after an arguably overzealous celebration of England captain Joe Root’s dismissal in Port Elizabeth.
England lead the series 2-1 after overcoming their Boxing Day defeat at SuperSport Park with comprehensive victories at bothNewlands and St George’s Park.
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