SA vs Ind 1st Test – Hamstring strain puts Temba Bavuma’s participation in Centurion Test in doubt

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Temba Bavuma suffered a strain to his left hamstring in the first session of the Boxing Day Test against India, putting his participation in the match in doubt. Bavuma left the field in the 20th over and was sent for a scan soon after. A Cricket South Africa statement said he will “undergo daily medical evaluations to determine” if he will play any further role in the match.

Bavuma was fielding at mid-off when Virat Kohli drove Marco Jansen through extra cover and he gave chase. The ball stopped before reaching the boundary and Bavuma did not have to dive to haul it in but as he caught up to it, he clutched his hamstring and went down in pain. He received treatment on the field and then left, unaided. Dean Elgar, the former Test captain playing in his last series, moved himself from slip to mid-off and appeared to have taken over leadership duties.

This was Bavuma’s first outing since South Africa’s semi-final at the 50-over World Cup against Australia on November 16, where he was carrying a right hamstring strain. Bavuma picked up that injury while fielding in their final group match against Afghanistan in Ahmedabad on November 10, but did not leave the field at any stage and batted for 49 minutes as South Africa successfully chased 245. He did not have a scan in India but progressed with a rehabilitation program at training and was cleared to play the semi-final, even though he conceded that he was not 100% fit. South Africa lost that match by three wickets.

Bavuma was rested from their next assignment of three T20Is and three ODIs against India which started on December 10 and was due to play a four-day first-class match between December 14 and 17 to prepare for the Test series. He missed the game because of a family bereavement. On the eve of the Test Bavuma declared himself, “mentally as fresh as ever,” and he was a strong presence in the field for the first 90 minutes of play (which started half an hour late after overnight rain).

If he is unable to bat, South Africa will be a player short for the rest of the game as Bavuma cannot be replaced due to an external injury, and he may also be a concern for the New Year’s Test. The second Test starts on January 3 in Cape Town.

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