SA v ZIM, One-off Test Preview: Proteas pumped up with the return of their senior pros

India will be landing in the lands of Proteas in a very short time from now and they'll be approaching this game more as a preparatory.

Dale Steyn |
Dale Steyn will be back in the squad after a long injury layoff (Photo Source: Cricket South Africa)

Despite being neighbors for centuries, South Africa and Zimbabwe have combatted in the longest version only 8 times, which is hard to believe. But that’s completely and they are gearing up for the ninth meeting between the sides. Unlike all their previous meets, there are a lot of innovative things which will come into the fray this time. Both these sides will be locking horns for the first-ever 4-Day Test since 1973.

Another crowd pulling aspect of this encounter is that it is a Day-Night Test. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been willing to bring in some reforms into the gentlemen’s game to draw more attention. This is another one of those attempts from the heads of the game to see if the 4-Day concept will work out.


Teams will be on the field for 98 overs instead of 90 in this game. Although many senior cricketers have lambasted the entire Four-Day Test concept, people are very eager to see how this turns out. India will be landing in the lands of Proteas in a very short time from now and they’ll be approaching this game more as a preparatory.

South Africa (Probable XI): Dean Elgar (capt), Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel

Zimbabwe (Probable XI): Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor (wk), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza, Peter Moor, Graeme Cremer (capt), Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Blessing Muzarabani

Focus will be on

Dale Steyn (South Africa)

One of the game’s all-time greats, Dale Willem Steyn is finally back from his long injury layoff. It’s needless to say all his fans missed the exuberance and energy that he brings to the game. The veteran, according to many, is no longer the threat he was before. But only a fool would dig his own grave by underestimating the 34-year-old.

Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe)

Quite certainly Zimbabwe’s player of the year across all formats, Sikandar Raza been performing well in the last few months. Let that be in the red jersey for Zimbabwe or T20 Leagues across the world, he made his presence felt. The all-rounder is a more than a decent batsman in the middle order and always dependable when he has the ball in hand. He really brings great balance to the side.

Playing Combinations

South Africa

Dean Elgar is chasing Cheteshwar Pujara to be the highest run-scorer in Tests this year. He will open alongside newbie Aiden Makram. Hashim Amla has been scintillating ever since he took up the number three spot. AB de Villiers will be returning at number 4, with Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, and Vernon Philander.

Dale Steyn will be back with his partners in crime in the fast bowling contingent after a long time. Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, and Vernon Philander will be accompanying him and people can’t wait to see this combination. Keshav Maharaj is the lone spinner in the lineup.


The very experienced Hamilton Masakadza will be opening the innings alongside Solomon Mire. With Craig Ervine coming in to bat at number three they have Brendan Taylor at four. Other batsmen in the middle order are Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza and Peter Moor. Skipper Cremer can also come in handy at times with the bat.

As always, they are heavily reliant on their spin department. Skipper Graeme Cremer and Sikandar Raza have been decent this year with the ball. The fast bowlers in the side for the game will be Kyle Jarvis,  Chris Mpofu, and Blessing Muzarabani.

Stat Attack

43 – Dean Elgar needs 43 runs to finish 2017 as the highest run-scorer in the longest format.