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July 2, 2014
Jacques Kallis will be reinstated to the No. 3 position in South Africa's batting line-up for the ODI series against Sri Lanka. That spot is Kallis' preferred one - he has batted there 197 times in his 311 ODI innings, scored 7769 runs at 46.52, marginally higher than his overall average of 44.86, and scored 13 of his 17 centuries at first-drop - and he will occupy it as South Africa look to firm up their 2015 World Cup line-up.
"Jacques is back and he has held the No. 3 position for a long time but hasn't played a lot of ODI cricket recently so he will probably slot back into that position," Russell Domingo, the South Africa coach, said. "We have a good understanding of what our batting order is going to be and we are going to try and be as consistent as possible with it."
Domingo has been an advocate of a settled rather than a floating batting line-up since he took over from Gary Kirsten last July. He established a batting order which had JP Duminy at No. 3, AB de Villiers at No. 4, Faf du Plessis at No. 5 and David Miller at No. 6 on last year's limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka but that was disrupted when du Plessis was dropped, Graeme Smith returned from injury and Kallis recommitted to the ODI side ahead of the home summer.
The shuffling meant that when Kallis made his comeback in November against Pakistan, there was uncertainty over where he would feature. Kallis played four matches, batted at No. 4 twice, No. 3 and No. 6 once each and finding a place for him appeared more difficult than initially thought.
Finding his own form was also tricky. Kallis scored a half-century on comeback but managed only a combined 26 runs in the other three matches. He has since retired from Test cricket to concentrate on the fifty-over version with an eye on next year's World Cup, for which South Africa's build-up begins on Sunday.
Although the three matches in Sri Lanka will be played in dissimilar conditions to the World Cup, South Africa are looking to make a final decision on combinations before they head to Australia and New Zealand for ODIs later this year. Those matches will be an exercise in putting the final trimmings on; these ones are about deciding on the ingredients.
For that South Africa will need to hope the weather plays ball in Sri Lanka. Already they were forced indoors for their first practice session on Tuesday but managed to get outside on Wednesday, where the 33-degree heat and 80% humidity took its toll.
"The guys practiced with good purpose and intensity so we are good to go in terms of getting the tour started after a bit of rain," Domingo said. "It's been hot and humid. These are some of the factors that we have to get used to in tomorrow's game. Tomorrow's game will be a good start in terms of acclimatizing to these hot conditions."
More rain is forecast on Thursday, when South Africa are due to play a warm-up match against a President's XI in Moratuwa. South Africa will field all 15 players in their squad and Domingo wants to see "all the bowlers bowl some overs and as many batsman get a hit as possible."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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