Dean Elgar to captain South Africa in third Test

Left-hander will replace Faf du Plessis, who is facing one-match suspension for slow over-rate

Dean Elgar to captain South Africa in third Test PHOTO: AFP

Left-handed opening batsman Dean Elgar will captain South Africa in the upcoming third Test against Pakistan in the absence of regular captain Faf du Plessis.

Du Plessis is serving a one match suspension for a slow over-rate in the nine-wicket victory in the second Test in Cape Town.

In his place, the Proteas are set to hand a debut to batsman Zubayr Hamza in the third and final Test against Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit starting at the Wanderers on Friday as they seek a clean sweep of the series against a battered touring side. 

Uncapped opening batsman Pieter Malan, 29, has also been brought into the squad as injury cover for opening batsman Aiden Markram, who is nursing a thigh problem and will face a late fitness test. 

The loss of Du Plessis, a centurion at Newlands, is a significant blow for the home side, especially with Markram's potential absence, and fellow middle-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn out of form and averaging just 19.33 after eight Tests. 

It could see a shuffle of the batting order with Temba Bavuma moving to number four, De Bruyn to five and Hamza taking his place at six. 

"It is disappointing losing Faf, he plays an immense role in the team both on and off the field," South Africa coach Ottis Gibson told reporters, adding the team was determined to sweep the series. "Last year, we had a mission within the team to win 3-0 against India to help us get back to number one (in the Test rankings), but then we got up to Johannesburg, changed the team and lost the test match. We are aware of that, and we have a mission to not only win the next Test, but also the two against Sri Lanka (in February) as well. The squad is hungry to finish the series off on a high." 

Pakistan showed signs of an improved batting performance in the second Test but are likely to face another lively wicket at the Wanderers that will be well-suited to South Africa’s barrage of seamers. 

Coach Mickey Arthur has suggested there will be changes to the side for the series finale, which is followed by five One-Day Internationals and three T20 matches. 
One of these could see the return of 20-year-old all-rounder Shadab Khan, most likely for ineffective fellow leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who took just a single wicket in the opening two Tests. 

"Shadab is a genuine all-rounder," said Arthur. "It allows us, like we did at Lord’s (in 2018), to have him at seven, Faheem (Ashraf) at eight, and then three bowlers, which can be any of the quicks or even Yasir Shah if we think the pitch is going to turn. It gives us that flexibility."