After a disastrous first test showcased by the Proteas, questions are now being raised about the team’s composition ahead of the second test, which starts in Christchurch on Friday.
Will the same team that was humiliated in less than three days be supported to compete in the second test, or will a few changes be made to brighten up the lineup.
One of the biggest questions is whether Aiden Markram will be retained, after giving another poor performance with the bat to add to his recent list of failures.
In his last 10 Test innings, Markram has averaged under 10 and his time may be up, with the Proteas looking for a more solid option.
“No doubt he’s had a hard time. The talk about his position has clearly been in the media and I’m sure the selectors will talk about that,” admitted Proteas captain Dean Elgar.
“From my point of view, maybe it’s just the mental game that he’s fighting a little too much. We know he is a quality player and he is just one innings away from changing a lot of things for himself.
“I think it’s also a matter of trying too hard. The more you try, the more you fail sometimes. So I think maybe he should stop trying so hard because obviously he’s a gifted player.”
Maharaj, Rickelton and Mulder
Another question is whether they should bring Keshav Maharaj back to the sidelines after attacking at full speed in the first test.
Maharaj was used sparingly in the Test series against India and if he is not supported to bowl many overs it is a waste of a position that would rather go to a batter or all rounder.
“I felt very comfortable with the 11 we selected. Playing a spinner will always be a discussion. I’m always a captain who is pro with a spinner just from a stability point of view and a guy like Keshav has done that for us over the past few seasons,” said Elgar.
“But history tells you that the Hagley Oval spin doesn’t have much effect, even though Aiden took two wickets, it was pretty much batsmen foul wickets.
“So I was comfortable with the four-seam approach, knowing that we were only using four seamstresses against India and that spin was not a factor in South Africa.”
Other players who could come into the mix to sideline include Lungi Ngidi, Ryan Rickleton and Wiaan Mulder.
Ngidi missed the first test due to a back cramp and is still in a race to be fit in time for the second test. Glenton Stuurman played in his place in the first Test.
Rickleton is an option at the top of the order or at number six or seven and could replace Markram as he has been in excellent first-class form lately.
Due to his ability to hit, Mulder would be an option to add to the team’s tempo shares if they choose to bring Maharaj back on the team and drop one of the tempo bowlers.