In the midst of a torrid Test series, South African batter Temba Bavuma's patience with the nation's selectors appears to be growing thin. Equally thin, many have suggested, has been the Proteas' batting lineups - something Bavuma believes should be easily corrected.
The visitors were mostly forgiven for being skittled twice on a grassy Gabba pitch in the first Test, which proved to be as much of a problem for Australian batters as it was for their Proteas counterparts. However a disastrous innings loss in the Boxing Day Test has left South Africa's largely inexperienced batting lineup at the mercy of critics.
'DIFFICULT': David Warner reveals true toll of leadership fight
Offered an opportunity to earn a consolation victory with Australia forced to drop Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc due to injury, Bavuma had criticisms of his own for national selectors. He believed it was 'obvious' an extra batter was needed at the MCG after multiple collapses.
Bavuma wasn't afraid to turn some of the heat on himself, admitting a 'brain-fart' cost him his second innings wicket for 65. But the 32-year-old said it was clear another batter was needed for the third Test at the SCG, which begins on January 4.
“It would be nice to have an extra batter,” Bavuma said. “The batting does look a bit thin. I mean, that’s something that’s obvious.” One of the more experienced players in this South African lineup, Bavuma admitted the tour had been a trial by fire for many in the side, but one that would hopefully hold them in good stead in years to come.
“Obviously disappointing the way we’ve gone out as a team in the two Test matches,” he said. “This is obviously not what we prepared for as a team and it doesn’t do justice to all the work that that we put in.
“We’ve come here to Australia as well and they’ve asked questions and we haven’t had answers to them. International cricket is a brutal, brutal sport and a lot of us are learning that.”
Australia make surprise additions for third Test amid injury dramas
Australia have added former opener Matthew Renshaw and spin bowler Ashton Agar to the Test squad ahead of the SCG series finale. Renshaw received his first call-up to an Australian red-ball squad since 2018 when the forgotten opener was named on Friday for the third Test against South Africa.
Renshaw last played a Test in March 2018 when he rushed to South Africa after Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were stood down following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal. He had previously notched 10 Tests across 2016-17 before being dropped for Bancroft ahead of the 2017-18 Ashes as a result of poor Sheffield Shield form.
The left-hander failed to retain his Cricket Australia contract in 2019-20, and he hit a new low when he was dropped from Queensland's Shield side in 2020. Some technical improvements helped Renshaw regain his spot in the Bulls' line-up, but it was a mental shift that played an even bigger role in Renshaw's rise back to Test ranks.
Agar is a more realistic option to play on an expected spin-friendly pitch at the SCG. The left-arm spinner could slot in at No.7 and leave wicketkeeper Alex Carey, fresh off a maiden Test century, to be promoted up the order.
Experienced quick Josh Hazlewood will almost certainly end a three-Test absence and return to the XI after recovering from a side-strain injury suffered against the West Indies in Perth earlier this month. West Australian speed machine Lance Morris, who has been dubbed the new "Wild Thing", has retained his spot in the squad and could make his Test debut.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.