South Africa’s decision to go with four seamers at the Wanderers has all but been confirmed after Dane Piedt and Rilee Rossouw were released to play in the Sunfoil Series.
It means one of Hardus Viljoen or Kyle Abbott is likely to take his place, unless the selectors spring a surprise and bring back JP Duminy into the starting XI.
The decision to release Piedt means the spin bowling duties fall to the left-handed Dean Elgar, who has been used regularly as a part-time bowler ever since the series against India where he took a four-for in the first Test.
Piedt and Rossouw will join up with the squad again ahead of the final Test at Centurion on 22 January.
If Viljoen plays, he will make his Test debut at his home ground and the same venue where he took 20 wickets in two matches in the first two rounds of the Sunfoil Series.
‘Hardus excites me quite a lot,’ AB de Villiers said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
‘He bowls at a very big pace and has good control. He has taken two 10-wicket hauls for his franchise team not too long ago so there’s a lot of talent there.
‘It looks like a normal Wanderers Test wicket. Maybe a touch drier than normal because we haven’t had a lot of rain in the past few months but there is always a good contest between bat and ball on this ground which excites me.
‘We have part-time spinners in our team who can do a job if we don’t go with a specialist spinner.’