This week the Proteas will take on their first test series under the stewardship of Ottis Gibson. Gibson has selected a 13 man squad for the series, with Mulder possibly a replacement for the injured Wayne Parnell. Ahead of the first home test of the series, we thought it would be good to check out how each of the 13 did in the opening week of the Sunfoil Series matches.
Faf du Plessis – Titans – 96
Hashim Amla – Cape Cobras – 56 & 189
Temba Bavuma – Cape Cobras – 25 & 0
Theunis de Bruyn – Knights – 195
Quinton de Kock – Titans – 54 & 0 – 3 Dismissals
Dean Elgar – Titans – 139 & 21
Keshav Maharaj – Dolphins – 36, 0/104 & 1/70
Aiden Markram – Titans – 119 & 87
Morne Morkel – Titans – 2/90 & 3/44
Duanne Olivier – Knights – 3/58 & 0/99
Wayne Parnell – Did not Play
Andile Phehlukwayo – Dolphins – 37 & 62, 0/63 & 0/36
Kagiso Rabada – Lions – 4, 0/59 & 0/43
Looking through the list you would probably feel fairly satisfied with the batting as apart from Temba Bavuma all of the likely starters got into the runs. Fantastic centuries by Hashim, Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn and Dean Elgar, with Faf du Plessis, De Kock, Markram and Amla got fifties. Of course, there was the match saving 50 by Phehlukwayo as well and that will make South Africans quite happy as the batting lineup looks strong. I am very excited to see Markram in action as hopefully, someone will finally bed down the opening spot with Elgar.
The concern, however, will be the bowling. Rabada and Phehlukwayo failed to pick up a wicket in their respective matches, while the frontline spinner Maharaj was carted all over the park, picking up just one wicket for 174 runs. Morne Morkel was the one ray of sunshine with his 5 wickets including a great spell of 3/44 in the second innings against the Dolphins. Duanne Olivier showed his ability in the first innings with a solid 3 wickets but struggled terribly in the second and again concern will be there that South Africa will struggle to take the 20 wickets needed. Fortunately, Ottis Gibson is a pretty good bowling coach too!
Wayne Parnell has not played since the Carribean Premier League and would be well served to go and play in the Sunfoil series before getting considered for the Protea test team.
Probable Lineup for opening test
- Du Plessis
- De Bruyn
- De Kock