South Africa recall batsman De Bruyn for Australia test series

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South Africa have selected fast bowler Gerald Coetzee for the first time and handed a recall to batsman Theunis De Bruyn for their crucial three-test tour of Australia that starts next month.

But the tourists will be without regular number three Keegan Petersen, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury as they look for answers to what has been a brittle top six batting line-up in recent years. Coetzee, 22, has been rewarded for some good domestic form but has only played 13 first-class games.

He is likely to be back-up to the frontline seamers in the squad, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen. The bowling stocks looks good, but the major concern will be around the batting line-up, which struggled on the recent tour of England.

De Bruyn, 30, last played for South Africa in 2019 and averages 19.45 in his 12 tests, so his recall on the back of some low numbers in domestic cricket in recent months is a surprise. Wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who has played a single test against India in 2019, has been selected in the place of Ryan Rickelton, while batsmen Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen are back in the squad after injury.

Australia are currently top of the ICC World Test Championship and South Africa in second place, making this a vital series for both sides as they seek to make the final at Lords. The first test will be staged in Brisbane (Dec. 17-21), before matches in Melbourne (Dec. 26-30) and Sydney (Jan. 4-8).

South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma, Gerald Coetzee, Theunis de Bruyn, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Khaya Zondo.