Sri Lanka in SA

Petersen back in Proteas squad

2012-01-02 10:00
Alviro Petersen (File)

Cape Town - Lions captain Alviro Petersen says he is so excited to be back in the Proteas' squad for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka, he will even be prepared to bat at number 11.

"I'm just so happy to be back in the side that I don't care where I bat," Petersen said on Sunday after being recalled to bolster the top order.

"I'll bat anywhere from one to 11 - as long as I play for South Africa."

After two matches, South Africa and Sri Lanka are level at 1-1 but the hosts will hope to secure their first home series win since November 2008 in the third and final Test starting in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Petersen was unlucky to be dropped at the start of the season in favour of Jacques Rudolph, who could no longer be ignored after his performances in franchise cricket.

Rudolph, however, failed to consolidate his place as an opener, with scores of 18, 14, 30 and 24 in two Tests against Australia in November and only one good start (44) against Sri Lanka as he failed to capitalise on the opportunity.

Petersen, who last played a Test against India in Cape Town a year ago, has been in good form during his time away from the national side, scoring 103 for South Africa A against Australia in early November.

More recently, he made 145 not out for the Lions against the Dolphins and last week scored 115 against the Titans.

"I've been playing nicely and would like to build on that," Petersen said.

"It's not nice getting dropped, but instead of being miserable, I just focussed my mind on one game at a time for the Lions.

"I focussed on each ball in each session and the way I approached it really helped me a lot, but now I'm back in the squad, so I'm happy."

Rudolph remains in the 12-man squad for the third Test.

Petersen, however, is likely to open the batting with SA skipper Graeme Smith while Rudolph is expected to be shifted down to strengthen the middle order in place of Ashwell Prince, who has been released.

Seam bowler Vernon Philander is fit and ready to return to the attack, after recovering from a knee injury, while Marchant de Lange, who took eight wickets on debut in the second Test in Durban, is likely to carry the drinks.

Petersen said the mood in the SA camp was positive, despite going down by 208 runs in the second match, and they looked forward to playing at Newlands where the Proteas have not lost a Test in nearly six years.

"It's a good opportunity for us to put things right after the loss at Kingsmead," he said.

"Our preparation has been good and we've put in the hard yards in the nets.

"Our game plans are in place and we're feeling positive about getting a good result here."

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