Cape Town — Temba Bavuma will make his return to the Proteas starting line-up for the fourth Test against England on Friday.
The 29-year-old, who missed the Boxing Day Test with injury, was then dropped for Tests two and three at Newlands and Port Elizabeth, respectively.
That decision was a controversial one despite Bavuma’s poor return in Test cricket in 2019, where he averaged just 19, and he was told to go back to domestic cricket and post runs there.
He did that in the form of his highest-ever first-class score last week with a superb 180 for the Lions against the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg.
Now, with Zubayr Hamza out of sorts, Bavuma has forced his way back into the national team.
“I can tell you that Temba is back in the side,” Du Plessis told media at the Wanderers on Thursday.
“The rest, we are still waiting to see what the weather does tomorrow. We don’t have 100% clarity on that yet, but that is the one thing that is definite.”
Du Plessis also confirmed that Rassie van der Dussen would bat at No 3 in Hamza’s absence.
The Proteas go into the match 2-1 down in the series needing a victory to salvage something from the four-Test contest.
“When you’re deep in a series already, the extra time in the nets is not going to make much difference. The challenge for us as a team is how strong we are mentally,” Du Plessis added.
“We know where we have been poor in our gameplans. We haven’t scored enough runs in our first innings and that’s a basic of Test cricket.”
In 39 Test matches, Bavuma has scored one century and 13 half-centuries to average 31.24 while Hamza’s scores of 39, 4, 5, 18, 10 and 2 against England ultimately cost him his place.
Play on Friday gets underway at 10:00.
– Compiled by Lloyd Burnard
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Publish date : 2020-01-23 15:47:28