Temba Bavuma believes the Proteas will have to bat at least four sessions to save the third Test at The Oval.
The Proteas began day three fighting to avoid the follow-on as they trailed by 227 runs. Bavuma and Morne Morkel played watchful knocks in the early stages of the morning session to ensure that the visitors couldn’t be asked to bat again.
It was a good day out in the middle for the diminutive Bavuma, who registered his eighth Test half-century. More significantly though, was passing 1 000 Test runs in his 35th innings in the longest format. The 27-year-old said that while he is proud of his achievement, he is looking to make more contributions to the Proteas’ cause in future.
‘I’m happy to have achieved this milestone. At one point I didn’t think that I would get to this point. It’s obviously a small step ahead in my career and it will be important for me to continue putting in contributing performances when I get the opportunity,’ said Bavuma.
About batting with the tail, and saving the visitors’ blushes to a degree by chipping away at England’s first innings lead, Bavuma said it is a role he has become somewhat accustomed to.
‘It’s always difficult in those situations. Where I bat, more often than not, that is where I will find myself having to adapt to those type of situations.
‘I didn’t see it differently to all the other times I’ve batted. In terms of game plan, I tried to take it ball by ball. We wanted to see how long we could keep them out there.’
England are in the ascendancy heading into day four, with a lead of 252 runs and nine second innings wickets still in hand. Bavuma stressed the need to knock them over before this lead can be extended much further.
Bavuma said further that the Proteas batsmen need to show application in their second dig to salvage a draw, but believes this is not beyond the realms of possibility.
‘We would ideally like to bowl them out as cheaply as possible. We need to come out tomorrow and find a way to stretch the time out in the match and to possibly give our batsmen four sessions to fight it out.
‘We have done it before, we know what is needed to do as a line-up, and we have the belief that we can bat to save the game.’
England will begin day four of the third Test on 74-1.
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