Dropping Bavuma 'tough', but sensible

Temba Bavuma (Gallo)
Temba Bavuma (Gallo)

Cape Town - With South Africa 12/3 on day one of the first Test against India at Newlands on Friday, it looked like they would miss having Temba Bavuma in their middle order. 

READ: Dale Steyn back with a bang on Test debut

It is when the Proteas have their backs against the wall where Bavuma has shone most, playing some vital innings on his way to notching up 27 Test matches. 

But, with AB de Villiers back in the fold and with Faf du Plessis returning too, it was always going to be a selection headache for the national team's brains trust. 

The situation was complicated even more by the nature of the wicket, with South Africa eventually giving into temptation by fielding all four of their premier quicks in an effort to rip through the Indian order. 

In the end, Bavuma's one Test century in 42 knocks and his modest average of 33.13 meant that he had to be the one to carry the drinks. 

Proteas batting coach Dale Benkenstein explained after the first day's play that it had not been an easy decision for the selection committee.

"With AB and Faf being back, then you’ve got a top six that all average over 40 in Test cricket," Benkenstein explained.

"We wanted to go with a strong bowling attack and our best batters at this time and we just felt on that wicket as a group that that was the best team."

Still 27-years-old, there is no doubt that Bavuma will play many more Test matches for the Proteas. 

De Villiers, Du Plessis and Hashim Amla are all expected to call it quits after the 2019 World Cup, and that would leave Bavuma as one of the more experienced top order batsmen in the side.

"The positive side of it is that Temba is in great form. There is nothing wrong with the way he is playing, but it is a very strong batting unit," Benkenstein said.

"It was a tough decision."

India will resume their first innings on Saturday at 28/3, still 258 runs behind South Africa's first innings total of 286.

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