Town - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis believes
that Temba Bavuma is
one of South Africa's best batters, particularly when there is movement in the
air and off the surface.
Batting in South Africa over the
last 12 months has not been an easy task with seam-friendly wickets
contributing to low scores and Test matches that are over well before the fifth
and final day.
That has been the case once again
in the ongoing series against Pakistan, which South Africa secured by taking a
2-0 lead on Sunday morning when they emerged as 9-wicket winners in the second
Test at Newlands.
Bavuma, as was the case in even
more difficult conditions during the Boxing Day Test at Centurion, was in the
His knock of 53 in that first
Test bailed the Proteas out of serious trouble - they were 43/4 when he came
out to bat - and it was a contribution that has now become synonymous with
Bavuma's Proteas career.
Then, in Cape Town, the
28-year-old was back at it with an innings of 75 in a 153-run
partnership with Du Plessis that batted Pakistan out of the Test and the
Bavuma's game plan is a simple
He stands still at the wicket and
is mechanical with his trigger movements while his judgment on when to defend,
leave or score has been one of the most noticeable improvements to his
The last two Test matches have
seen Bavuma solidify his place as a senior member in a Proteas top order that
has been crying out for leadership.
Du Plessis' return to form in
Cape Town was desperately needed, but there are still question marks over
Hashim Amla despite his 63* at Centurion.
Perhaps the biggest concern at
the moment from a South African perspective, though, is Theunis de Bruyn.
His brilliant 101 in Colombo back
in July looked to be the kick-start he needed in his international career, but
he has failed to make an impression against Pakistan with scores of 29, 10, 13 and 4 summing up what
has been a poor series for him so far.
Even more disappointing than
those scores is the way that De Bruyn has gotten himself out, with two loose
shots in Cape Town bringing about his downfall.
Proteas coach Ottis Gibson rates
De Bruyn extremely highly, but there is no doubt that he will be the one to
fall out of the side should the Proteas opt to go into Wanderers with an extra
Bavuma, meanwhile, is not going
anywhere and he has spoken openly about his desire to bat at No 4 in the Test
Backing Bavuma in that
all-important position and moving De Bruyn down the order would not only ease
some pressure on the latter, but it would also ensure that the Proteas do not
have to shuffle their top five every time they want to alter the balance of
their side by playing five bowlers.
"Technically, Temba is one
of our best players when the ball moves around because he plays very late and
leaves well," Du Plessis told media after the second Test on Sunday.
"I back him and if there is
an opportunity for him to go up the order and bat at No 4, I know he would want
to do it and he likes the added responsibility."
only Test hundred came almost exactly three years ago against England in Cape
Town, and his inability to convert good starts into big scores when given the
opportunity is one reason Du Plessis might feel more comfortable with him at No
"Temba will be the first to
tell you that he has got himself into a few opportunities where he could have
got a hundred," the skipper said.
"He is a very motivated
cricket player. At the moment he is a good player, but he wants to become a
"In order to do that when
you get an opportunity to score a hundred you need to take it. That's the
difference between averaging in the 30s and in the 40s.
"Temba is definitely working
on that but if you look back at the value on the runs he has scored for us a
team over the last three years, there are a lot of very important runs that
Temba has scored for us when we were in deep trouble that won us the
now averages 35.41 from his 33 Test matches.
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