Hamza set to debut as South Africa eye series sweep

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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa are set to hand a debut to batsman Zubayr Hamza in the third and final test against Pakistan starting at the Wanderers yesterday as they seek a clean sweep of the series against a battered touring side.

Hamza, 23, will be a replacement for captain Faf du Plessis, who is serving a one-match suspension for a slow over-rate in the nine-wicket victory in the second test in Cape Town.

Uncapped opening batsman Pieter Malan, 29, has also been brought into the squad as injury cover for 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. Opening batsman Dean Elgar will captain the side in the absence of Du Plessis.

“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. —Agencies

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