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'Still have to prove myself' - Abbott

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'Bowling in partnership is going to be key' - Abbott (1:51)

Kyle Abbott talks about nature of the wickets, Sri Lankan players and his spot in the team (1:51)

Boxing Day could bring Kyle Abbott a belated Christmas present. It's one he has tried not to think too much about. It's the gift of security.

If Abbott is in the XI to take on Sri Lanka - and all indications, from his own form, to coach Russell Domingo's hope that players use this series to cement spots, suggested as much - it would be his fourth Test in 2016, the most in a calendar year for him. It would also be Abbott's third consecutive Test for South Africa and his tenth overall. These are hardly milestones, but considering he has taken 46 months to rack up these numbers, they are important.

In another country, perhaps, Abbott might have established himself in far less time. But in South Africa, where Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have been mainstays for a decade, where Vernon Philander recorded the best start a seamer has made in more than a hundred years, and where Kagiso Rabada's prodigious talent fast-forwarded his progression, Abbot has had to fight. And wait. And hope.

After a productive tour of Australia - 13 wickets at 14.84 - he seems to have finally earned a sustained run in the Test side. His Christmas present is almost at hand, but he is not quite sure about tearing the wrapping off just yet.

"I don't think anything is secure at this level unfortunately, or cricket in general," Abbott said. "At the end of the day, we've still got to put in performances. As long as the team is winning, those selections become easier. It's a case of putting in the performances and winning games. I will go about like I do every game - probably still having to prove myself - but I will cross that bridge when I get there."

Abbott's hesitation may stem from the fact that there is still some competition. Wayne Parnell is the reserve quick, offering a left-arm option and hometown flavour, though he was with the Cobras in Cape Town last season. More importantly, he hasn't played any long-form cricket this summer after picking up a rib injury in October, and last played a Test almost three years ago.

As a result, It is unlikely that South Africa would tinker with the attack that won them the series in Australia. It looks a strong one too. Abbott, who has recently moved to the Port Elizabeth based Warriors franchise, offers swing and bounce. Philander moves the ball off the seam. Rabada is fast and fiery. And Keshav Maharaj chips in with left-arm spin. While they may not have played together often, they have learnt to adjust to each other's styles quickly and were flexible when it came to their roles.

"We complement each other so well, which is key," Abbott said. "Although fairly similar, I think there is quite a bit of variation amongst us. We work well together.

"We look at what the other guy is doing from the other end. It's not like one of us has to do something and stick to it. It changes through the Test match and through the series."

All of them have to be highly disciplined at St George's Park. The pitch has a thick covering of grass, but is expected to flatten out with Saturday's westerly wind. For Abbott, who has built his career on consistency, it presents exactly the kind of challenge he enjoys.

"We always feel we are in the game here as fast bowlers because we get to bowl wicket to wicket," he said. "We are attacking the stumps, attacking the pads quite a bit and it brings in quite a few different dismissals. Sometimes on bouncy tracks you get caught out a bit in the channel and are only really looking for the nick off but on a wicket like this we are bringing in lbws, bowled, caught midwicket, some scrappy dismissals. It's also quite a nice ground to build pressure as bowlers because it's not a very fast-scoring ground."

It could also be the place Abbott enjoys his best Christmas; the one where he becomes a regular.