Proteas batsmen miss out again

2015-12-21 09:55
Dean Elgar (AFP)

Cape Town - The decision to play five Proteas batsmen in the Sunfoil Series over the weekend did not turn out exactly as planned. 

The time in the middle - however short - would have been welcomed by the men who all struggled in India, but runs were hard to come by and they will go into Saturday's Boxing Day Test against England in Durban somewhat out of form. 

While there will be concerns up and down the order for coach Russell Domingo, perhaps the biggest question mark remains over the opening pair that is expected to do battle in the first Test against England. 

Both Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl failed for the Titans and Cobras respectively, and Van Zyl especially could have done with some runs ahead of a series that looks increasingly likely to have a major say in his immediate international future. 

In Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, Stephen Cook carried his bat through the innings for SA 'A' to finish undefeated on 53 and further enhance his reputation as an option to relieve the opening problems currently staring the Proteas in the face. 

But the squad of 13 for England - the opening two Tests, anyway - has been named and Cook will have to wait his turn. 

Here is how the Proteas on Sunfoil Series duty went for their franchises over the weekend:

Dean Elgar - 0 and 12 (Titans v Warriors)

There are still less doubts over Elgar than there are over Van Zyl, but the gritty left-hander missed out in both knocks against the Warriors despite his side claiming a convincing win. Elgar also bowled three overs in the match, going for 26 runs.

Stiaan van Zyl - 15 and 21 (Cobras v Knights)

The Cobras were absolutely thrashed in Cape Town, and Van Zyl could do nothing to stop the rot. He got a start in the second innings but could not kick on. He also bowled three wicketless overs, but all eyes will be on his batting when he strides to the middle in Durban.

Hashim Amla - 10 and 23 (Cobras v Knights)

Like Van Zyl, Amla did get a start in the second innings. There is always the feeling that a player of Amla's quality is just one innings away from turning the corner and finding form, and Proteas fans will be hoping that their captain finds that innings in front of his former home crowd.

JP Duminy - 35 and 27 (Cobras v Knights)

While he didn't kick on in either innings, Duminy did spend two-and-a-half valuable hours at the crease at Newlands. He remains one of the senior players under a bit of pressure to perform against England. Also picked up a wicket in the Cobras' losing cause. 

Temba Bavuma - 57 and 2 (Lions v Dolphins)

Bavuma was the only Proteas batsman to get past 50 in 10 knocks between them - probably the most concerning statistic from the weekend. He failed in the second innings, but looks to have done enough to have booked a slot in the middle order for Boxing Day.

Dane Piedt - 4/121; 0 and 12 (Cobras v Knights)

Four wickets for the Proteas' chief spinner would not have hurt. 


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