Reportedly, injury concerns for Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and, Morne Morkel saw South Africa continue to bat on the fourth day of the last Test with the lead well over 600. The hosts had to thank Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar for holding the mast steady and taking the outcome beyond doubt.
The Proteas’ decision to keep on batting after both du Plessis and Elgar had returned to the pavilion with the lead over 500 in the second innings, had evaded many. The target, which was thought to be 450 during drinks, was soon scratched out by pundits whose predictions of the hosts waiting for Elgar’s century was proved wrong in the 90th over.
Quinton de Kock came and left as Temba Bavuma and Philander continued to frustrate Australia with numerous close edges running to the boundary as the target soon crossed 600. However, Cricbuzz soon revealed the reasons behind South Africa’s strange decisions.
"Philander has a strapped groin which has been managed throughout the match. So South Africa don't have any fully fit fast bowlers. Kagiso Rabada has a stiff lower back. He's played all 10 Tests plus eight of the nine ODIs. This is why South Africa are batting on, and are likely to do so until they get bowled out," reported Cricbuzz.
The only pacer left in the squad, Morne Morkel, had picked up a left side strain on the third morning in Johannesburg. Keshav Maharaj remained the only fit bowler for the Proteas who could give his 100% in bowling. And given the lighting 45-run knock that he made in the first innings, South Africa wouldn’t really want to declare without giving him a chance to bat again.
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