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Much-changed SA batting line-up; but no action on 1st day





A much-changed South African batting line-up was all geared up to bat first in testing conditions at The Oval on Thursday, but they never had the chance as rain returned shortly after the toss and washed out the entire opening day’s play of the third and decisive Test against England.

England won the toss, which had been delayed by half-an-hour due to morning showers, and elected to bowl first, ensuring that the spotlight – and the pressure – will be firmly on a Proteas batting line-up that has not had much to shout about lately.

Also read: ‘Time to step up and get big scores,’ says Petersen about Proteas’ batters

For the match at The Oval, two changes to the batting line-up have been made, with the inexperienced duo of Ryan Rickelton and Khaya Zondo coming in for the injured Rassie van der Dussen and the dropped Aiden Markram.

The 26-year-old Rickelton returns after playing two Tests against Bangladesh at the end of last summer and scoring 114 runs at an average of 38. Zondo made his Test debut on the last day of that series as a Covid substitute and did not bat, but he is a 32-year-old domestic stalwart who has more than 6000 first-class runs to his name.

Prestigious Randburg school

Rickelton is a St Stithians product, as is bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada, and the prestigious Randburg school gained a third player in the XI when all-rounder Wiaan Mulder was selected due to Lungi Ngidi’s hamstring niggle.

Mulder was initially only called into the squad last week as the replacement for Van der Dussen, and has been in fine form with the bat for Leicestershire in county cricket.

South Africa made a fourth change when paceman and handy lower-order batsman Marco Jansen was selected instead of second spinner Simon Harmer. Given the weather conditions, the Proteas are likely to get more buck for their rand from Jansen’s left-arm seam than Harmer’s off-spin.

But first of all their batsmen will have a mountain to climb, with captain Dean Elgar saying at the toss that they are “going to have to knuckle down and start well, runs are key, taking 20 wickets is covered”.

Also read: England rookie Brook to replace Bairstow for series-decider against Proteas




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