Cape Town - Temba Bavuma, dropped from the Proteas Test side, carded his highest-ever first-class score on duty for the Lions in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
It was a massive statement from the 29-year-old, who was told in no uncertain terms by Proteas leadership that his way back into the national set-up would be through scoring runs at franchise level and in the 4-Day Franchise Series.
Bavuma's 180 was not enough to stop the Lions from going down by 130 runs at the City Oval, but it eclipsed his previous highest first-class score of 162.
The news of Bavuma being dropped made waves in South African cricket circles given the country's commitment to transformation at top-level sport.
With the Proteas currently in action in the third Test against England in Port Elizabeth, the top order will know that they need to deliver with Bavuma now knocking hard on the door for the fourth Test at the Wanderers.
Bavuma has played 39 Test matches for South Africa, averaging 31.24. He is expected to be included in the Proteas squad for the limited overs leg of the England tour.
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard