South Africa recall De Bruyn from Test wilderness for Aussie series

Batsman Theunis de Bruyn has been recalled to the South African squad for a three-Test tour of Australia in December and January, Cricket South Africa announced on Monday.

The 30-year-old played in 12 Test matches between 2017 and 2019.

He scored a century against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2018 but failed to reach fifty in 22 other innings.

His recall and the inclusion of wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, 31, add maturity to a fragile batting order.

Klaasen has only played in one Test but has an average of 45.30 in 80 first-class matches and has played in 30 one-day internationals and 38 Twenty20 internationals.

Rassie van der Dussen, 33, also returns to add stability to the batting after recovering from a broken finger.

That kept him out of the recent T20 World Cup in Australia, where South Africa were eliminated after losing their last group match against the Netherlands.

Captain Dean Elgar, vice-captain Temba Bavuma, fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj are the only survivors from the squad that gained a 2-1 victory on South Africa's previous Test tour of Australia in 2016/17.

Australia and South Africa are currently first and second on the International Cricket Council World Test championship table and will be seeking to secure a place in the final in England next year.

Only two South Africans, Sarel Erwee and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne, have made centuries in ten Test matches since the start of the 2021/22 season.

They both came in the same match against New Zealand in Christchurch in February.

Bavuma is the only batsman to have averaged more than 40 runs an innings during that period.

The promising Keegan Petersen, with a Test average of 35.40, was ruled out of the tour because of a torn hamstring, while Ryan Rickelton, who batted without success in South Africa’s most recent Test, in England in September, has an ankle injury.

South Africa have a strong fast bowling attack, led by Rabada, who will be backed up by Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and tall left-armer Marco Jansen.

Also included is uncapped fast bowler Gerald Coetzee.

South Africa’s coaching staff also lacks experience following the resignation of former Test wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Malibongwe Maketa, who was assistant to former head coach Ottis Gibson between 2017 and 2019, has been appointed as interim coach. He has not previously been involved in a tour of Australia.

Squad:

Dean Elgar (capt), Temba Bavuma, Gerald Coetzee, Theunis de Bruyn, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (wkt), Khaya Zondo.

Fixtures:

December 9-12, Cricket Australia XI, Brisbane

December 17-21, First Test, Brisbane

December 26-30, Second Test, Melbourne

January 4-8, Third Test, Sydney

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