Temba Bavuma is looking to cash in at the Wanderers when the Proteas host Sri Lanka in the second Test from January 3.
The South African No 6 made headlines in the first Test at Centurion when, having looked incredibly comfortable on his way to 71*, he gave his wicket away by tucking his bat under his arm and walking off the field after Sri Lanka had appealed for a caught behind.
Replays revealed that Bavuma had not come anywhere near edging the ball and, had he stayed at the wicket, he would have been given ‘not out’ and had a fantastic opportunity to card just his second century in Test cricket.
It was certainly a bizarre moment, but more important was the fact that Bavuma and the Proteas returned to winnings ways after piling on 621 runs in their first and only innings.
Speaking on New Years’ Day on Friday, Bavuma acknowledged his Centurion mistake again, but was looking forwards rather than backwards.
“I guess walking prematurely before the umpire had made the decision wasn’t the cleverest of things but it’s something that just happened in the spur of the moment,” he said.
“The Wanderers is where everything started for me – playing first-class cricket for the Lions. There’s good memories for me at the Lions and I guess I’d like to create more memories.
“There is a feeling of unfinished business per se and opportunity is there to get in and get some runs. I would like to do so, and make it count.”
South Africa will be looking to win the match and secure a 2-0 Test series whitewash, reversing they scoreline they suffered at the hands of the Sri Lankans in 2019.
This time around, though, the Tests are taking place on more traditional South African highveld wickets and that seemed to work in the favour of the hosts at Centurion.
“There’s pace, there’s bounce in the wicket and lateral movement,” Bavuma said of the Wanderers.
“Our bowlers relish those types of conditions and the batters as well. We are used to batting on wickets that are quicker and that are bouncy.
“Our techniques are suited to it and mentally as well and we are quite courageous in these types of conditions.”
Proteas head coach Mark Boucher will have a few selections to ponder in his bowling attack, but the batting line-up is expected to remain the same given that, at Centurion, it finally showed some encouraging signs.
“There hasn’t been a lot of consistency or confidence in our batting,” Bavuma added.
“So I guess the pressure was on the batters, especially considering they are the senior guys within the team, to step up and lead the way. Fortunately, the guys did that.
“It’s not every day when you get to score 600-plus and the challenge for most of the team will be to try and match that effort.
“The biggest thing about the batting is that the guys that got in took their opportunity, specifically Faf (Du Plessis), so the challenge will be for batsmen to make sure that you go on and get a big score to put the team in a good position.”
Play on Sunday will start at 10:00.
– Compiled by Lloyd Burnard