Proteas

Time up for Stiaan van Zyl?

Stiaan van Zyl (Gallo Images)
Stiaan van Zyl (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The nightmare continues for Stiaan van Zyl at the top of the Proteas order, and it is hard to see the selectors persisting with him going into the fourth Test against England starting in Pretoria on Friday. 

Van Zyl was asked to open the innings on the tour of Bangladesh in July last year, and initially he showed signs that he could fill the role with scores of 34 and 33*.

But throughout the tour of India, and now at home to England, Van Zyl has struggled. 

Since the beginning of the India series his scores opening the batting have read: 5, 10, 0, 5, 0, 33, 4, 21 and 11. 

That's 89 runs in 9 innings at an average of 9.88.

With Highveld Lions opener Stephen Cook bashing away furiously at the selectors' door, it is hard to see Van Zyl keeping his place at Centurion. 

Cook has made two centuries and two half centuries in his last four first-class matches, and now even Proteas captain AB de Villiers has acknowledged that South Africa would be better off with a specialist opening batsman to partner Dean Elgar.

"It's easy to say now ... I definitely agree with that now," De Villiers said when asked after his side's 7-wicket loss at the Wanderers on Saturday if the Proteas would be better off with a specialist opener.

"But in saying that I thought Stiaan and Dean played exceptionally well on a wicket that is really, really tough with the new ball.

"Stiaan was unfortunate today, he looked very comfortable at the wicket. I was pretty impressed ... it's not always the runs that count."

Van Zyl made 21 and 11 in Johannesburg and, not for the first time, looked largely in control at the crease until getting out. 

De Villiers said that it would be up to the selectors to decide whether Van Zyl is given another opportunity in Pretoria.

"It's easy to say now, but I was very happy with the squad we had and the team we picked for the last few Test matches."

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