Dale Steyn will warm up for the Zimbabwe Test for the SA Invitation XI in Paarl on Wednesday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn make their long-awaited return to the Proteas Test squad for the day/night four-day Test against Zimbabwe at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth from December 26 to 29.

De Villiers’ last Test was against England at SuperSport Park in January 2016, while Steyn has been recovering from a serious shoulder injury suffered against Australia at Perth just over a year ago.

A third player, Vernon Philander, is also back in the Proteas squad after missing the most recent series against Bangladesh following an injury picked up during the winter tour to England.

“It is a very exciting moment not just for South Africa but for world cricket to have Dale and AB, two icons of the game, back in the multi-day format,” Cricket SA selection convener Linda Zondi said.

“After Zimbabwe, we have two very tough home Test Series coming up against India, the No 1-ranked side in the world, and Australia, who have just regained the Ashes in their current series against England.

“AB and Dale bring loads of experience to the side, apart from being two of the South African all-time greats.

“It is also good to have Vernon back and it is very encouraging that our four premium fast bowlers – Steyn, Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morné Morkel – are all back in the selection mix.”

Meanwhile, De Villiers (lower back strain) and Chris Morris (groin strain) have been withdrawn from the SA Invitation XI to play Zimbabwe in a three-day tour match at Boland Park starting on Wednesday.

“AB de Villiers is struggling with lower back stiffness and has been withdrawn from the three-day warm-up match as a precaution,” Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said.

“He is, however, available for selection for the Test match against Zimbabwe.”

Young Western Province all-rounder Dayyaan Galiem has been brought into the SA Invitation XI as a replacement for Morris.

Proteas Test Squad

Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morné Morkel, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn .

SA Invitation XI Squad

Dominic Hendricks (captain), Temba Bavuma, Tladi Bokako, Michael Cohen, Isaac Dikgale, Leus du Plooy, Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Kagiso Rapulana, Kelly Smuts, Dale Steyn, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Shaun von Berg, Lizaad Williams.

Cricket South Africa