Cape Town - As the Proteas prepare for the second and final Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur on Thursday, they do so under a little bit of pressure to get this one right.
It has not been the most successful tour so far and a win in the Test series would go a long way towards softening the blow of losing the three-match ODI series against the rejuvenated Tigers.
Kagiso Rabada’s heroics in the first ODI remain one of the highlights of the tour from a South African perspective. He is in the Test squad too and if he is given a debut on Thursday it will likely have to come at the expense of one of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel or Vernon Philander.
The pace trio has been the backbone of the Proteas’ Test success in recent years, and if Rabada was to be given a crack it would mean that somebody would have to make a bold selection call.
But if the selectors were to omit one of our seamers based on nothing other than form and statistics, then their decision would become substantially easier.
Since the beginning of 2014 the Proteas have played just 10 Test matches – three against Australia, two against Sri Lanka, one against Zimbabwe, three against the West Indies and one against Bangladesh. Steyn, Morkel and Philander have played in all of those matches.
How has our pace attack – once considered the best in the world – performed in that time? The statistics make for interesting reading, with Steyn coming away with some highly impressive numbers while Philander looks nowhere near as effective as he was in the first half of his career.
Wickets – 49
Runs conceded – 994
Average – 20.2
Wickets – 34
Runs conceded – 947
Average – 27.8
Wickets – 18
Runs conceded – 806
Average – 44.7