Phehlukwayo or De Bruyn for Wanderers Test?

2018-01-23 14:13
Theunis de Bruyn (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis acknowledges that going into the third and final Test against India at the Wanderers on Wednesday without a specialist spinner is a real possibility. 

READ: Bookies back Proteas to whitewash India at the Wanderers

South Africa, 2-0 up in the series already, are desperate to secure a 3-0 whitewash against the world's top-ranked side and a look at the Wanderers wicket suggests that spin will not play a major role in deciding the outcome. 

Should Keshav Maharaj not be selected, then the Proteas will turn to either batsman Theunis de Bruyn or all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo

Chris Morris is on paternity leave and unavailable. 

The case for De Bruyn might be slightly stronger at this point given that batting has been tough going – for both sides - throughout the series. 

South African No 6 Quinton de Kock is also not in the best form currently, and including De Bruyn would allow the wicketkeeper to move down to No 7 and lengthen the Proteas top order. 

"It’s definitely something we’re speaking about in our selection. It’s an option," Du Plessis said when asked if he was considering going in without spin.

"It was an option at Centurion as well.

"This looks like a normal Wanderers wicket but we’ll just have to look tomorrow morning and see what it looks like.

"Obviously Kesh is an extremely talented spin bowler and we are extremely lucky to have him. If we do think of leaving him out we have to be 100% sure."

Temba Bavuma would surely have been above De Bruyn in the pecking order, but he picked up a hand injury while on domestic duty with the Cobras and is also unavailable. 

That means De Bruyn is in line to earn his fourth Test cap.

"The two options are between Andile and Theunis," Du Plessis confirmed.

"If we do go for an all-rounder it gives you that option from a batting and bowling point of view, or what you can do is play seven batters and four seamers. Those are the combinations we’re talking about."

After the dramas of the second Test, where Du Plessis and the Proteas were not given the wicket they wanted, the skipper is far more pleased with what he has seen in Johannesburg so far.

"It looks more like the conditions we are used to," he said.

"We haven’t asked for anything over the top, just a wicket with good pace and bounce. Hopefully we will get that."

Play on Wednesday starts at 10:00.


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