The South African captain was the victim of a hostile throw from his own coach Mark Boucher, which jumped over the front of his shoulder and hit the grill. Elgar was later seen awkwardly holding hands with an ice pack in the injured area, and did not participate in any slip catching. But sources confirm that there is no doubt about his participation in the decider. If that were the case, it would be really sad as South Africa are still looking for a way to get more runs on the board.
For Peterson, the task ahead is simple in word, though difficult in practice. “It’s clear. We need to score a century on top,” he said. “It hasn’t happened for a while now. The batsmen have to step up and get some big scores.”
Rickleton comes with a second hot streak of form, which both South Africa have failed to capitalize on. He scored three centuries and one ninety runs in five first-class innings between November 2021 and January 2022, but did not play against New Zealand on South Africa’s February tour, despite Pietersen calling off the tour after contracting Covid-19. did not remember Now, Rickelton has scored two centuries and four fifties in eight innings for Northamptonshire, which he got by chance, but especially in preparation for playing in England.
In South Africa, Rickelton is known for his flair – awarded from years of practice in the school nets when his father was the sports director – and the ability to make an innings, a feat no South African batsman other than Irvi has ever done. Not done on tour. He has struck a balance between grit and power hitting and importantly, has converted his starts. He has 14 first-class fifties and 12 centuries to his name. Five of Rickleton’s 12 centuries are scores of over 150. No one in South Africa’s Test squad has scored a score of that significance since Faf du Plessis’ 199 against Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day Test in 2020, 14 Test matches earlier.
Pietersen puts the lack of big runs on the mindset rather than the application, and yet has no solution other than to show more resolution. “It’s all mental. I don’t think we’ve struggled to get in. It’s starting and going out, that’s the problem,” he said. “It’s the middle position that you have to prepare for, and you know it’s going to be tough. You have to at least try to fight through that tough phase. That’s where you have to mentally yourself all the time has to be challenged. The actual process of doing that. It’s going to happen in the moment.”
Mulder’s place in the South African set-up remains confusing – he hasn’t played a white-ball game in a year, has lost to Dwayne Pretorius and Wayne Parnell and hasn’t made it to the T20 World Cup squad. He recently played Tests in the form of Bangladesh series in March-April and then missed this team. With Marco Jensen the favorite all-rounder, it is difficult to see how Mulder will get more regular runs, but if the opportunity presents itself, the form he is in, he is in a good place to grab it.
With some parts of their XI shaky, South Africa are not going to be in a decisive position as they would like. Their batting still presents more questions than answers, it is still scraping with thanks to several small contributions and it clearly needs to improve if it is going to challenge the best bowling attacks in the world.
But it has got them through four undefeated series (West Indies, India, New Zealand and Bangladesh) and a win (or draw, although South Africa have not drawn a Test since 2017) away from fifth and it is equally poised. as much as he can be. “That’s what we live for as cricketers: series decider. It’s going to be thrilling,” Pietersen said. “There’s a lot for both teams and I think you’re going to get a good game.”
Firdous Munda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent