Duanne Olivier will play in the second test against Pakistan. Photo: Chrsitiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

The Proteas may not yet have decided on their starting XI for the second Test against Pakistan at Newlands, but the one certainty is that Duanne Olivier will play.

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis confirmed at the pre-match conference that the first Test hero Olivier will be retained in the starting line-up, despite the return of fit-again Vernon Philander.

Olivier only played at SuperSport Park due to the long-term injury to Lungi Ngidi, but took full advantage of his opportunity by claiming a career-best 11/96 in Centurion.

"We've got a lot of skill in our bowling attack and Duane is more an enforcer and a guy that puts you on the back foot. Just that enforcer role that I think is important and he brings a variety to our attack," Du Plessis told reporters at Newlands on Tuesday.

"It can sometimes be a bit challenging for batters especially when they come from the subcontinent where the ball doesn't bounce as high.

"He is a fit guy that can bowl long spells and I like to have that in the armoury. He runs at you and is around your head most of the time. It's not comfortable for anyone."

The Proteas’ brainstrust are, though, still in a quandary over the composition of the final XI. Philander’s inclusion strengthens the batting line-up, which could leave Theunis de Bruyn’s position in the team vulnerable.

De Bruyn, however, struck a gallant century just two matches ago in Colombo in tough spinning conditions and would be deserving of a further opportunity to solidify his position in the team.

This would potentially then set up a shoot-out between fast bowler Dale Steyn and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for the remaining place. After finally having been relieved of the pressure of passing Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s all-time leading wicket-taker at SuperSport Park, there could be the temptation to rest Steyn at Newlands.

Although Steyn is fit as he has ever been, there is a long season ahead with the World Cup looming large on the horizon later in the

However, the selectors could equally opt to dispose of the specialist spin option of Maharaj. Although traditionally Newlands has been a venue where spinners have prospered, the tide has turned in recent years.

Maharaj has only claimed five wickets in three Tests played in Cape Town at an average of 39. 

@ZaahierAdams 


IOL Sport

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