Proteas win toss and elect to bat in third Pakistan Test

Opener Aiden Markram passed a fitness test on Thursday to confirm his place in the team.

Proteas opener Dean Elgar plays a shot during day 3 of the first Test match against Pakistan at Centurion on 28 December 2018. Picture: @OfficialCSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa captain Dean Elgar won the toss and elected to bat at the start of the third Test at the Wanderers on Friday as the hosts seek a clean sweep of the three-test series, without their suspended regular captain Faf du Plessis.

It will be the second time Elgar has captained the side. He led South Africa in the first Test against England at Lord’s in 2017 when Du Plessis returned home for the birth of a child.

“I’ve pressed home the message all week that this is not a dead rubber for us. We still have team goals,” Elgar said.

Du Plessis was suspended for the match for a slow over-rate in the second Test in Cape Town, which has meant a debut for 23-year-old batsman Zubayr Hamza, who has been pushing his case with strong domestic form over the last two seasons.

Opener Aiden Markram passed a fitness test on Thursday to confirm his place in the team. He suffered a badly bruised right thigh while fielding at Newlands and was unable to bat in the second innings.

South Africa, who won the first Test in Pretoria by six wickets and second at Newlands by nine wickets, declined to again play a specialist spinner and stuck with their four-man pace attack.

Pakistan dropped leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who has taken just one wicket in the series, with 20-year-old all-rounder Shadab Khan replacing him in the side.

Opening batsman Fakhar Zaman was also dropped with Shan Masood moving up the order and Faheem Ashraf coming in eight to boost both the bowling and batting.

Hasan Ali has also replaced teenage bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi.

South Africa - Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier.

Pakistan - Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.