NO FAFFING ABOUT AT THE BULL­RING

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - DFA SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

PROTEAS coach Ot­tis Gib­son has stressed that de­spite the dis­ap­point­ment of los­ing cap­tain Faf du Plessis for the third and fi­nal Test against Pak­istan at the Wan­der­ers, the home team re­main “hun­gry to fin­ish the se­ries off on a high”.

Du Plessis, shortly af­ter be­ing named Man of the Match for lead­ing his team to a nine-wicket vic­tory which sealed the se­ries for the Proteas on Sun­day morn­ing at New­lands, was sus­pended for one Test and fined 20 per­cent of his match fees for main­tain­ing a slow over-rate in the Cape Town Test.

It fol­lows on from when Du Plessis was pre­vi­ously found guilty of a mi­nor over-rate of­fence dur­ing the Cen­tu­rion Test against In­dia, which ended on Jan­uary 17 last year, which con­sti­tuted his sec­ond of­fence within a 12-month pe­riod.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing los­ing Faf, he plays an im­mense role in the team both on and off the field. We will be meet­ing with the se­lec­tors to de­cide on a suit­able re­place­ment but I have no doubt that who­ever is se­lected will make the best use of the op­por­tu­nity,” Gib­son said.

Although the se­ries has been wrapped up al­ready, there is a burn­ing de­sire within the squad to com­plete a 3-0 white­wash over Pak­istan.

South Africa were in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion last sea­son against In­dia af­ter clinch­ing the se­ries af­ter the sec­ond Test at Su­pers­port Park in Cen­tu­rion. But, with the se­ries won al­ready, the se­lec­tors opted to change the line-up for the fi­nal Test at the Bull­ring with young all-rounder Andile Phehluk­wayo be­ing given an op­por­tu­nity.

Du Plessis’ sus­pen­sion means that at least one en­forced change will now be made, but Gib­son was wary of any fur­ther tin­ker­ing.

“Last year we had a mis­sion within the team to win 3-0 against In­dia to help us get back to No 1, but then we got up to Johannesburg and we changed the team. And then we lost that Test match.

“We are aware of that, and we have a mis­sion to not only win the next Test, but also the two against Sri Lanka as well,” he said.

“We have seen in the past how play­ers have stepped up when needed and I know the same will apply for the third Test. The squad is hun­gry to fin­ish the se­ries off on a high.”

The most likely re­place­ment for Du Plessis is the un­capped young Cape Co­bras bats­man Zubayr Hamza. The stylish righthander has been with the Proteas since the start of the se­ries, and even re­mained with the squad dur­ing the sec­ond Test de­spite the Co­bras play­ing a four-day Do­mes­tic fix­ture against the VKB Knights this past week­end.

Hamza also took a good catch on the bound­ary to­wards the close on the third day af­ter com­ing on to the field a sub­sti­tute for the in­jured Ai­den Markram.

Gib­son is con­fi­dent that Markram, who did not open the bat­ting in the sec­ond Test due to a sore right thigh, and Hashim Amla, who was forced to re­tire hurt af­ter be­ing hit on the arm, will all be ready for the Wan­der­ers Test start­ing on Fri­day.

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