The Proteas lost the toss and were again invited to bat in the second Test against Bangladesh in Bloemfontein.
There is just one change from the team that beat the tourists by 333 runs on a flat wicket in Potchefstroom: Wayne Parnell coming in for the injured Morne Morkel.
‘It was a good toss to lose,’ said Proteas captain Faf du Plessis. ‘We had a look at it and were a bit unsure of what to do. But despite all the hype it looks to be a normal wicket, a good batting wicket. Nine times out of 10 we would have chosen to bat.’
Parnell, who has not played first-class cricket since April, comes in preference to Cobras quick Dane Paterson. ‘Wayne has been bowling well in the nets and he gives us extra strength in the batting as well,’ said Du Plessis.
Thus the Proteas’ keenness to test the tourists with the battery of pace will have to wait a while. It is one of the least experienced pace attacks ever presented by the Proteas: the lead bowler is now Kagiso Rabada, with 22nd Tests, Wayne Parnell and Duanne Olivier holding nine caps between them. Andile Phehlukwayo has played one Test.
This is the time for the ‘second tier’ of bowlers step up as viable replacements for Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Chris Morris and Morkel, and demonstrate the true depth of South African cricket.
The Proteas will look to Olivier, particularly, on his home ground, even though conditions are slightly altered from the flat tracks normally associated with the Manguang Oval.
Bangladesh have four changes: Tamim Iqbal is injured, while spinner Mehidy and pace bowlers Taskin and Shafiul have been dropped. Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain and Subashis Roy have been included instead.
South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Duanne Olivier
Bangladesh: 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), 5 Mahmudullah, 6Sabbir Rahman, 7 Liton Das (wk), 8 Taijul Islam, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Subashis Roy.