Sydney, Dec 31: As if their embarrassing defeats in the first two Tests against Australia were not enough, South Africa suffered another setback when top-order batter Theunis de Bruyn was declared unavailable for the third and final match as he had to return home for family reasons.
De Bruyn returned home for the birth of his first child and thus forced South Africa to make at least one change for the third and final Test starting at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 4.
De Bruyn came into South Africa’s playing XI for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne at the expense of Rassie van der Dussen, but could only manage 12 and 28 runs in the two innings as South Africa lost by an innings and 182 runs. He was warned by Mitchell Starc for backing up too far in the second innings.
With South Africa’s batters already struggling to find their feet against a strong bowling attack put up by the hosts in both Tests, de Bruyn’s absence will further add to their problems and impact South Africa’s hope of at least winning the inconsequential match and give some respectability to the scoreline.
With de Bruyn unavailable for the Sydney Test, van der Dussen looks set to return to the playing XI.
The South Africa No 4 batter Temba Bauvma said the visitors need to bolster their batting and consider playing an extra batter at SCG.
South Africa had played five frontline bowlers in the first two Tests but it was their batting that failed to live up to expectations in both matches.
Bavuma top-scored with 65 in South Africa’s second innings at the MCG before a self-described “brain fart” cost him a chance of making a second Test century, said a report in cricket.com.au.