Proteas assistant coach Adrian Birrell says the Proteas have the fight to bat out the final day and save the third Test.
The Proteas will have their work cut out on day five, after losing four wickets during the closing stages of day four. Despite this, Birrell says Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma have the grit to resist the hosts’ victory tilt.
Elgar suffered a bruised left index finger and is expected to bat on, despite extreme pain, an indication of the fight left from the batsmen.
‘It’s not broken, but even if it was, it wouldn’t make a difference,’ Birrell said of Elgar’s injury.
‘He will bat with a broken finger, that is not a problem for him, it might be for others, but not for him. He will be there fighting tomorrow.’
Of Bavuma, Birrell says his temperament in the current situation will stand him in good stead.
‘Temba will do what he does best, he toughs it out,’ said Birrell.
‘He is a tough little guy, he is not going to be overawed by the occasion. He has shown before that there is a lot to him. I think he is batting well at the moment, he must carry on and do exactly what he has been doing.’
The Proteas aren’t in completely unchartered territory, having pulled off great escapes against Sri Lanka in Colombo, India at the Wanderers and famously against Australia in Adelaide.
‘The prospects some time ago, when we had to block out against India were similar.
‘There was a similar feat to win a series against Sri Lanka. There is that hope that we have done it before, it’s not something we haven’t done. Our two fantastic blockers are out, so someone else is going to have to block.
‘When you look at the players to come, we are reliant on the two that are in to bat long. Vernon is a fantastic batter and can block out, he has been not out before in these matches before. There is hope, not huge expectation, but hope.’
Play is scheduled to start at 12:00 SAST.