Albie Morkel is set to make his Test debut against Australia at Newlands, with Wayne Parnell carrying the drinks.
Mickey Arthur admitted as much after the Proteas’ practice session on Tuesday, although the coach still had to confirm the team with selection convener Mike Procter.
“I do think that in all likelihood Albie will start,” Arthur said. “It gives us a bit more batting depth, but we have to get 20 wickets. His pace in Australia was decent. He seems to be getting his pace up and he’s found that nip again. But what he’s also done is he’s bowled the length that we haven’t been able to do against the Australians.
“We’ve been a little bit too short, we’ve been a little bit too full. We haven’t been able to hit that in-between length. Albie possesses that ability and can swing the ball back into the left-hander, one of the areas we identified against both [Marcus] North and [Phillip] Hughes and haven’t been able to exploit.”
Ironically, Albie will be a direct replacement for his brother Morne, who was dropped after the Proteas’ second Test defeat in Durban. This situation has drawn comparisons with the Waugh brothers, as Mark famously replaced Steve in Australia’s Test line-up in 1989 to earn his first cap.
While the current Test series has already been won by Ricky Ponting’s men, the Proteas are desperate to level the six-match ‘series’ (played home and away). If South Africa lose 3-0 they will drop to third in the Test rankings, which would be a terrible way to end the season considering how close they came to being No 1.
Arthur, though, is confident his team can turn things around at Newlands.
“Every Test match is there to be won, whether it’s a dead rubber or not,” he said. “There’s a lot of pride in performance in our dressing room, and I’m sure the players will be up for it. Just because we’ve lost a series does not mean South Africa is no longer a good team.”
Meanwhile, Australia are expected to make just one change to their XI, with 36-year-old spinner Bryce McGain coming in for Andrew McDonald.
South Africa (probable): Ashwell Prince, Imraan Kahn, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher, Albie Morkel, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.
Australia (probable): Phillip Hughes, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Bryce McGain, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus.