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Proteas skipper confirms Pieter Malan will make Test debut at Newlands

Proteas captain Du Plessis has confirmed that Malan has been selected to make his Test debut at Newlands, in Cape Town, as a replacement for the injured Aiden Markram.

Malan was named in the 16-man squad for the first two Tests, but did not feature in the Proteas’ 107-run win over England at SuperSport Park, in Centurion.

Markram, who injured himself during a fielding drill, made 20 and two in his innings that concluded a challenging 2019 for the opener.

Malan a proven first-class performer

Malan enters the fray with a wealth of first-class experience under his belt and 32 centuries in the longer format to his name.

Du Plessis also revealed that despite Temba Bavuma passing a fitness Test, Rassie van der Dussen would retain his place in the Test XI with just the one change.

The team’s new management structure have set out their stall to reward franchise performers and few players have delivered more consistently in first-class cricket than Malan.

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Pieter Malan during the Proteas’ training session at SuperSport Park, in Centurion, on 18 December 2019. Photo: Gallo Images

Philander to play final Test at Newlands

Vernon Philander will play his final Test at his home ground of Newlands in what is bound to be an emotional farewell.

Philander is retiring from international cricket after the Test series against England and will take up a Kolpak contract with Somerset to see out his professional career.

“This has been a special place for me and I’m pretty sure that come the 3rd [of January] it will be emotional. This place has been good to me,” he told media at the grounds on Wednesday.

“I started here in 2003, so it’s 17 years of playing at this wonderful venue.

“When you come in here, you still see the same faces from 2003 coming to support us, and I think that’s wonderful. There is no better place to be playing your cricket.”

Phlander said resilience is the most important trait for a Test bowler to have and credits his support system with keeping his career to date on track.

“Test cricket teaches you the need to come back all the time and it’s been no different for me,” he said.

“I’ve had a good support system over the years and whenever I’ve had a knock, I can go to certain people that I really put my trust into and refresh my mental capacity and go again.”

Philander has lauded the impact of new team director Mark Boucher as well ahead of the New Year’s Test against England.

“When you have guys that have played at the highest level, it does make things a bit easier,” he said.

“Having the credibility of having guys who understand what it takes to get back up again really does make a big difference.”  

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