Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
10 Jan 2022
7:26 am

‘Keep Markram at the top, but bat Bavuma at No 3’

Ken Borland

The Proteas and India are locked at 1-1 with just the third Test to be played, starting at Newlands on Tuesday.

Coach Mark Boucher talks with Temba Bavuma during the South African national cricket team training session at Newlands on Sunday, ahead of the third Test against India, starting Tuesday. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Former Proteas spinner Paul Harris says he’d like to see Aiden Markram continue to open the batting for South Africa in the third Test against India, starting in Cape Town on Tuesday, but he’d like to see Temba Bavuma move up the order.

South Africa and India are locked at 1-1 in the three-match series, with everything to play for at Newlands.

Harris told The Dot Ball Podcast: “We need to give Aiden a bit of grace because the pitches so far in this series have been a bit of a lottery.

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“If he does move down to four, the problem then is who opens and who is left out for him?

“The only thing is I’m not 100% sure about him batting on off stump, because when the ball nips back then he’s out.”

Markram has failed to fire so far in the series, but Bavuma has batted solidly, but found himself regularly batting with the tail.

“I would love to see Temba Bavuma bat at three though,” said Harris. “He’s obviously worked really hard on his technique and of late he’s been in incredible form. He’s a senior player and has the best technique for No3.

“That would allow a novice like Keegan Petersen to bat five. Moving Temba to three would give him the best chance of scoring those hundreds everyone is on about. He’s often ended up batting with the tail.”

Harris further said that after two low-scoring matches at Centurion and the Wanderers, he was looking forward to a better pitch at Newlands, which would help South Africa’s batsmen to build a big total.

South Africa were dismissed for 197 and 191 in losing the first Test by 113 runs, and then made 229 in the first innings of the second Test, before a highly-encouraging 243/3 took them to victory.

Dean Elgar’s match-winning 96 not out is the Proteas’ highest score in the series and they have made three other half-centuries. Lokesh Rahul’s decisive 123 in the first Test is India’s only century.

“It will be interesting to see what the Newlands pitch is like,” said Harris, who took 103 wickets in 37 Tests. “It can be flat or it can do a bit, and it used to provide some spin too.

“I think we’ve had two poor pitches so far, with too much sideways movement. So there have not been a lot of hundreds and it would be nice to see someone get in and score big.

“We play bounce well, so what you want is good bounce and carry. A good old-fashioned wicket, where you can play normal Test cricket and we can see a couple of hundreds.

“Dean has showed that he wants the team to play tough cricket, but I think on better pitches we will see the South African batsmen start scoring some big runs.”