Test Cricket: Looking at the Proteas line-up for their next Home Series line-up v Pakistan this Summer after an disastrous 2-0 whitewash loss in Sri Lanka

After Sri Lanka gave South Africa the sucker punch with a two-nil whitewash, what now?

Their subcontinent record continues to plummet like Australia’s and what they can do to improve next time around?

Keshav Maharaj did the work all by himself when it comes to the bowling rather than complementing him with Shaun Von Berg or Tabraiz Shamsi.

While the quicks rarely took a couple of scalps with Dale Steyn still needing one more wicket to leapfrog Shaun Pollock as their all-time test wicket-taker.

Now let’s turn the tables to their batting.

Opening Batsman pair of Aiden Markram & Dean Elgar

Dean Elgar had a harsh single-figure score twice in Galle two weeks ago.

Next test, His nightmare time persisted with a duck during the 1st innings.

However, Elgar finally made something up with a cameo 37.

The same say for Aiden Markram who has inexperience batting at subcontinent conditions.

Markram did not create much sufficient impact than his highest away score of 19.

We’ll wait & see how the Elgar-Markram opening partnership reacts differently at home during the South African summer.

First-Drop: Hashim Amla

Despite reaching 9000 test runs, Hashim Amla’s stocks continue to fall.

Whenever he bats at first or second drop, he can pull off a tremendous necessary shot start.

But he’s very prone of the spinners when he tries to defend his wicket then makes small edge cuts quickly to the fielder or knicking off stump.

His time against Pakistan this summer is going to be Amla’s last chance to see what he’s got with the bat.

If his limited form persists, then South Africa needs new blood at the top order.

It’s very tough to find the next young player that is compatible with his style since South Africa has to meet the quota requirements.

At the age of 35, Amla has to prove doubters wrong or else they move him on.

Second-Drop: Theunis De Bruyn

I initially questioned Theunis De Bruyn’s surprise promotion at first drop since they play in sweltering conditions.

The first innings had proved that fate when he scored three off Niroshan Dickwella’s catch from Dilruwan Perera.

However, De Bruyn proved many including me wrong when he scored a well-earned 100.

He uses all of his batting tools such as the sweep which is a spinner’s worst nightmare.

Furthermore, De Bruyn rotated the strike with his tall height which helped him score his maiden test hundred.

He should keep his spot on a regular basis preferably at four having scored plenty of four-day 100s at home.

Number 5: Faf Du Plessis, Skipper

He made two close half-centuries in both 1st innings performances at both Galle & Colombo respectively.

But he continues to hesitate by moving forward & then miss the shot too early either to the fielder or stumps.

Next time, Faf Du Plessis might be liked to be a little more patient especially in Sri Lanka.

That way he can utilize his technique better & score more than just 50s.

Number 6: Temba Bavuma

He may not have done his best at 4 or 5 during his first three innings performances with the bat.

But Bavuma did finally show some class in the second innings down at No.6.

From there, there’s a lot of sweep shots used & his quick hands/feet which is a great way to trick the spinners into boundaries.

But likewise, to the other top-order batsmen, the defense of knicking continues to go on and on.

Unfortunately, Bavuma is one of those people in that category.

Wicket Keeper: Quinton De Kock

He initially has shown some glimpses with his sweep shots plus his flexibility of the crease.

But he continually makes mistakes by backing away & play it square which is too risky for him to play when trying to scare off the spinners.

Next time, De Kock would need to play a bit more straightforward and when it’s the right time to play square so he can be more flexible with the bat.

Conclusion

It’s probably the last time that we’ll see Dale Steyn playing tests at home this summer once he eventually overtakes Shaun Pollock’s record by one wicket to 422.

If he can stay fit & perform at his best once before, then he should stick around the Proteas a bit longer.

The same say for Hashim Amla, his body at the age of 35 is slowly declining with his inconsistent performances.

He has to find a way now to try & recapture the form Amla needed for this summer or else retire from the International game.

It’s about time that the Proteas need to lower the age gap and introduce some upcoming youngsters into the senior squad.

Apart from Amla, it’s hard to choose which batsman to drop since they have to match their quota requirements.

Any new additions waiting to play Test Cricket for South Africa?

If you want to know which person should be the ideal AB De Villiers replacement, let’s say, Heinrich Klassen.

He’s 26 right now who possesses a similar mold of MS Dhoni & plays as a keeper/batsman.

He doesn’t have to play test cricket as a keeper but as a specialist batsman.

However, like David Miller, it’s hard to dislodge when it comes to battling a spot in the top or middle order especially when they have to match their quota requirements.

The best hope for Klaasen to come into the test side is when if De Bruyn’s form becomes inconsistent.

Wiaan Mulder would be the next best replacement for Dale Steyn once Steyn hangs up his boots.

Mulder can produce that the legendary Shaun Pollock & Jacques Kallis blossomed once before as he’s an all-rounder.

If Mulder came in to bat, I’d say eight since Bavuma is coming at six & De Kock at seven.

Even better you have the best young fast bowling attack that South Africa has built:

  • Lungi Ngidi
  • Kagiso Rabada
  • Wiaan Mulder

And Keshav Maharaj rounds out the perfect Protea bowling line-up.

Keep an eye on Mulder in case Steyn faces another injury setback.

There are no test matches played for South Africa at home until this Boxing Day in five months time.

For now, South Africa face another problematic test against Sri Lanka in the 5-match ODI Series starting this Sunday.

This Summer Proteas Test XI v Pakistan (Predicted)

  1. Dean Elgar, Vice-Captain
  2. Aiden Markram
  3. Hashim Amla
  4. Theunis De Bruyn
  5. Faf Du Plessis, Captain
  6. Temba Bavuma
  7. Quinton De Kock, Wicket Keeper
  8. Keshav Maharaj
  9. Kagiso Rabada
  10. Dale Steyn
  11. Lungi Ngidi

Alternate Protea Test XI

  1. Dean Elgar, Vice-Captain
  2. Aiden Markram
  3. Hashim Amla
  4. Theunis De Bruyn or Heinrich Klaasen**
  5. Faf Du Plessis, Captain
  6. Temba Bavuma
  7. Quinton De Kock, Wicket Keeper
  8. Wiaan Mulder***
  9. Keshav Maharaj
  10. Kagiso Rabada
  11. Lungi Ngidi

Legend/Key

  • **In case De Bruyn’s form becomes inconsistent and
  • ***Dale Steyn gets injured again.

References

Author: Sports Benches

Matthew Nicholas, the founder/blogger/vlogger on Sports Benches, is an aspiring cricket player & passionate sports fanatic who lives in Sydney, Australia.

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