Cricket: Bavuma back to bolster South Africa for final test

By Mark Gleeson
FILE PHOTO: South Africa v Pakistan - Second Test

By Mark Gleeson

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Temba Bavuma will return to South Africa’s batting lineup for the fourth and final test against England, with Zubayr Hamza dropped, captain Faf du Plessis said on Thursday.

Rassie van der Dussen will move up to number three in the batting lineup with Bavuma coming in at five for the test at The Wanderers, which starts on Friday.

Bavuma returns after injury kept him out of the first test and he was then dropped, causing fierce debate in the country with his modest test average of 31.2, which includes a single century in 65 innings, pitted against the desire to have black players representing the team.

His career-best first class score of 180 in domestic competition last week all but sealed his return.

Yet South Africa have yet to take a decision on who will replace Kagiso Rabada in the bowling department.

“We hear there might be a bit of rain around tomorrow, so we will make a call on that just before we start,” Du Plessis said at the pre-test news conference.

South Africa will likely restore Dwaine Pretorius to the list of seamers, keeping Dane Paterson, who took Pretorius’ place in the last test in Port Elizabeth.

Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks is also an option and plays his domestic cricket in Johannesburg, but is uncapped.

Rabada was handed a one-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a serious blow to South Africa’s hopes of levelling the series after a heavy defeat in the third test at Port Elizabeth on Monday left them trailing 2-1.

Rabada was sanctioned for an over-the-top celebration after taking the wicket of England captain Joe Root on the first day of the test last Thursday.

After bowling out Root he ran down the pitch, went down on his haunches, clenched his fists and roared into the ground – all under the nose of the England captain.

The umpires reported him to the match referee at the end of play and he was handed one demerit point and fined 15% of his match fee after being found guilty of breaching the ICC’s code of conduct.

(Editing by Toby Davis)