Heinrich Klaasen will receive his debut if Quinton de Kock is ruled out, but should there be more than one change in the Proteas team to replace his quality?
De Kock, who picked up a finger injury in the second Test, will undergo a late fitness test on Friday to confirm his availability.
Klaasen holds a decent batting record domestically. He’s played 51 first-class matches, scoring 3 140 runs at 49.06, racking up 13 half-centuries and seven tons. He also holds a respectable strike rate of 65.71, which proves his attacking quality. Although he is a useful No 4 for the Titans, he will act as the perfect protection for the Proteas’ tail end.
Despite this forced change, there are some other changes that could be made to tighten up the weakened batting lineup.
Theunis de Bruyn, captain and top scorer for the Sunfoil Series champions the Knights, has been waiting for his chance ever since being called up to the Proteas squad. De Bruyn’s form for his domestic side proves that he is more than qualified to receive his Test debut. His 2016-17 Sunfoil Series saw him score 751 runs @ 57.76, including four 50s and two 100s in his side’s journey to the title.
The only logical route for De Bruyn into the starting lineup is if Stephen Cook gives way for the 24-year-old.
The opening batsman’s recent record has been quite measly. He has had a rocky Test career, managing an average of 33.26 in 11 Tests.
His New Zealand tour has seen him post scores of 3, 0, 3 and 11, coupled with his last three innings against Sri Lanka, which saw him score 0, 30 and 10. This rounds off an unacceptable run of form for the 34-year-old.
JP Duminy, similarly to Cook, has had an inconsistent run of form with the bat. His recent run in New Zealand saw him post 1, 39, 16 and 15. Besides his 63 and 155 against Sri Lanka, the No 4 only managed one score above 30 in his last 10 innings. Adhering to the strategy of conceding to the turning wicket in Hamilton, the Proteas could drop Duminy and bring in Dane Piedt as an extra spinning option, who has been batting at No 7 for the Cobras in the One Day Cup.
Both of these changes should be made to replace the game-changing quality left out by the absence of De Kock. There is no place for a top six-collapse if there is no De Kock at the bottom of the order to save the game.
Bringing in De Bruyn for Cook will strengthen the batting lineup. Bringing in Piedt for Duminy will allow for a specialist spin partner for Keshav Maharaj.
The third Test starts at Seddon Park on Saturday at 00:00 SAST.
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