Temba Bavuma returns to South Africa team for final Test as Joe Root targets greatest moment as England captain
Batsman returns after injury kept him out of the first Test and he was then dropped, causing fierce debate in South Africa
Temba Bavuma will return to the South Africa team for the fourth and final Test against England, captain Faf du Plessis said on Thursday, although no decision has been made regarding the replacement of suspended Kagiso Rabada.
The Proteas trail the four-Test series 2-1 so need a victory in Johannesburg to avoid defeat. The return of Bavuma will see a change in the hosts' batting lineup, with Rassie van der Dussen moving up to No 3, Bavuma in at No 5 and Zubayr Hamza dropped.
Bavuma returns after injury kept him out of the first Test and he was then dropped, causing fierce debate in South Africa 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 are yet to decide who will replace 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 on Thursday.
Rabada was handed a one-match ban by the International Cricket Council in a serious blow to South Africa’s hopes of levelling the series after a heavy defeat in the third Test at Port Elizabeth 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.
The umpires reported him to the match referee at the end of play and he was handed one demerit point and fined 15 per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of breaching the ICC’s code of conduct.
'Very big achievement'
Root, meanwhile, believes rounding off a series victory against South Africa would be his proudest moment as England captain.
Victories on the road are hard to come by in Test cricket and, after triumphing in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Root's side have the chance to make it a hat-trick in Johannesburg.
Root has managed that once before, in Sri Lanka in 2018, but would rank beating South Africa 3-1 on home turf as his finest hour given the number of injuries and illness that have hit the squad.
"I think it probably would be, yes, because of the different things we've had to manage throughout this tour," said Root.
"It would be a very big achievement for this group. It's been a tour that has thrown everything at us and I think collectively as a squad, not just the players but the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as much in control as we can."
Updated: January 23, 2020 05:17 PM