• Wanderers pitch is ‘fine’ for final Test

    Central Gauteng Lions chief executive officer Greg Fredericks is ‘very happy with the preparation’ of the pitch for this week’s third and final Test between South Africa and Pakistan at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

    Earlier this month, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur criticised the condition of the pitches used for the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion and second at Newlands in Cape Town. Proteas coach Gibson countered, stating Arthur’s criticism is ‘strange’.

    ‘I’ve just come from the pitch now, and it’s fine, I’m very happy,’ Fredericks was quoted by IOL as saying on Wednesday.

    ‘People forget that after the Indian Test last season, we hosted Australia here as well and there were no issues with the pitch for that Test. There have also been no issues for our domestic four-day matches, or the limited-overs matches, so our pitches have been fine.’

    Meanwhile, opening batsman Dean Elgar has been named South Africa’s stand-in captain for the final Test. Regular captain Faf du Plessis has been suspended for one Test on the back of a slow over rate at Newlands.

    ‘The appointment of Elgar as stand-in captain is part of our strategy to develop our pool of leaders,’ said Cricket South Africa national selection panel convener Linda Zondi.

    ‘We have previously used Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock in this role in ODI matches, and Dean has previously captained the Proteas at Test match level against England at Lord’s in 2017.’

    The uncapped Zubayr Hamza will likely replace Du Plessis in the middle order. Fellow Cape Cobras right-hander Pieter Malan has been put on standby as Markram undergoes a fitness test. He sustained a thigh injury in Cape Town.

    Photo: Gallo

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