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Ken Borland

Elgar no longer willing to wait before middle-order clicks 0

Posted on October 14, 2022 by Ken

Having last week given the impression he believed it was only a matter of time before the middle-order clicks, Proteas captain Dean Elgar now seems to have lost patience and said changes were going to happen for the third and decisive Test against England starting at The Oval on September 8.

South Africa will be forced to make at least one change to the batting line-up, with Rassie van der Dussen returning home with a fractured left index finger.

Van der Dussen’s place has been under pressure as he has now gone 13 innings without a Test half-century, although his 41 in the second innings at Old Trafford, spending nearly three hours at the crease when his finger was obviously causing him pain, was a substantial effort. It probably would have saved him, but ironically he now cannot play.

Aiden Markram is still very much in the firing line, having gone 15 innings without reaching fifty. His only chance of survival would seem to be if the Proteas management decide it would be too risky bringing two inexperienced players into the middle-order for the series-decider.

Van der Dussen is likely to be replaced by Ryan Rickelton, who has played two Tests against Bangladesh at home, or Khaya Zondo, whose only Test cap came as a concussion substitute on the final morning of the Gqeberha Test against Bangladesh, and he did not bat.

“There are a few tough decisions coming our way,” Elgar said after the Proteas’ innings defeat in Manchester. “Obviously we have to replace Rassie, so that’s a definite change.

“But whether that’s the only change, we’ll have to see, we’ve got a few days to get ourselves a better combination. The bottom line is that we need runs from the middle-order and they have let us down quite a bit. The guys know it already.”

Markram’s cause is not helped by both his dismissals at Old Trafford making him look like a clot: In the first innings he fell crucially just before lunch, skying a pull at a Ben Stokes long-hop outside off-stump; in the second innings he got a nick to an ambitious drive on the up, outside off-stump, against Stuart Broad.

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