The Proteas have won the toss and have elected to bat in the first Test against New Zealand in Durban.
The wait is finally over. For the first time in eight months, the Proteas will step out on to the field in white clothing.
The news earlier in the week that Russell Domingo’s side have slipped down to seventh in the rankings has only served to increase the public pressure on them to perform. Irrespective of that, though, the Proteas do need to perform if they want to get anywhere near to that world No 1 ranking they had as recently as January.
It’s not going to be easy against a strong Black Caps side, but something the fans can definitely look forward to is as many as 15 Tests wishing the space of a year, starting today.
Kingsmead plays host to their first ever Test in August, and because of this, nothing is certain as to how the conditions might play out. Will it be a chance for Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander to roll back years of success agains NZ, or will Dane Piedt have the biggest say with his off-spin later on in the contest?
The Proteas have made three changes to the side that beat England in their consolation Test at Centurion. As we all know by now, Faf du Plessis, dropped for that rubber, comes in to skipper the side and will bat at No 4 in AB de Villiers’ absence. Philander plays his first Test in almost a year and comes in for Kyle Abbott, while Dale Steyn is also rearing to go and comes in for the injured Morne Morkel.
New Zealand have made one change to the team that beat Zimbabwe by 254 runs in Bulawayo two weeks ago, with Doug Bracewell providing a fourth seam option at the expense of Ish Sodhi.
SOUTH AFRICA: Cook, Elgar, Amla, Du Plessis, Duminy, Bavuma, De Kock, Philander, Piedt, Rabada, Steyn
NEW ZEALAND: Latham, Guptill, Williamson, Taylor, Nicolls, Santner, Watling, Bracewell, Southee, Wagner, Boult
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images