South African cricket coach, Mark Boucher during a team training session at Six Gun Grill in Newlands, Cape Town. File photo: GALLO IMAGES/ASHLEY VLOTMAN
South African cricket coach, Mark Boucher during a team training session at Six Gun Grill in Newlands, Cape Town. File photo: GALLO IMAGES/ASHLEY VLOTMAN

The Proteas will go into the second Test against Sri Lanka with the same top six batsmen but coach Mark Boucher acknowledges the return of fit-again fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is no certainty.

The home side will look to wrap up the two-match series in the second Test that starts in Johannesburg on January 3, having completed a convincing innings and 45-run victory in the first in Pretoria.

SA had not scored more than 284 in any of their previous 13 Test innings, leading to questions about their top six. But an impressive first innings total of 621, albeit against an injury-depleted Sri Lanka attack, has cemented Boucher’s thinking.

“We just got 600, why would I want to change our batting order?” he told reporters. “In Test cricket, you wait for your opportunity to come. We’ve got a couple of very good batters waiting in the wings and we will keep working with them so they are ready.

“For now, it will be very difficult for me to swap a batting order that has been through a couple of tough times of late and played well. I’ll take the 600 and keep working on that. We’ve got tough Test series coming up against Pakistan and Australia. It’s no time to start experimenting.”

Boucher admits there will be the temptation to include leading strike bowler Kagiso Rabada, but says they will have to be “smart” over their use of him this season.

“Sometimes with bowlers you want to play a guy for the sake of playing him because he is your top bowler. But you need to consider his workloads, from a mental and physical side.

“We want to play KG (Rabada) all the time, but he has got to get his workloads up or there is a high risk of him getting injured.”

Reuters

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