Dale Steyn’s fitness could leave South Africa with a selection dilemma ahead of the third Test against England at the Wanderers.
While England have made only one change to their starting XI in the series so far, replacing Chris Woakes with the fit again James Anderson, South Africa now face a similar problem if Steyn is indeed declared fit to play.
While the decision to leave out Woakes for Anderson was a straightforward one, the same is not the case for coach Russell Domingo and new captain AB de Villiers.
Chris Morris made his debut at Newlands and while he struggled with the ball in England’s first innings, he took two spectacular slip catches and scored a valuable 69 batting with Temba Bavuma during South Africa’s reply to 629.
Normally Morris, knowing he was a replacement for an injured player, would just drop out of the XI to make way, but his all-round abilities coming in at No 8 adds a nice balance to the side which will be lost if he is dropped.
Steyn coming back is a no-brainer while Morne Morkel, as the second most experienced bowler in the squad, should also be safe. Kagiso Rabada took the most wickets for South Africa at Newlands and the quick, bouncy tracks at the Wanderers (his home ground) will suit his strengths.
South Africa may be tempted to go with four seamers, which means Dane Piedt’s role as the specialist spinner will come under threat. While the Proteas must trust their top seven to get them the runs, it might make more sense to have Steyn, Morkel, Rabada and Morris as your attack and have Dean Elgar bowl some left-arm spin if necessary.
Then there is the case of Hardus Viljoen, who stands at the back of the queue but recently took 20 wickets in two matches at the Wanderers and has the pace to trouble England on a quick surface.
South Africa will want to make as few changes to the team as possible in order to get some continuity going in the series and Steyn coming in for Piedt seems the less disruptive way to go. If Steyn is not fit enough to play, Kyle Abbott is another option to strengthen the bowling if they decide to play four seamers.