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News

South Africa's Test stars pile up runs ahead of Australia tour

Klaasen and Verreynne hit double-centuries, while Dean Elgar scored his first ton in a year

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
18-Nov-2022
Kyle Verreynne (left) scored an unbeaten 201, Western Province vs Boland, 4-day Franchise series, 2nd day, Cape Town, November 18, 2022

Kyle Verreynne (left) scored an unbeaten 201 in first-class cricket  •  Cricket South Africa

Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen and Kyle Verreynne warmed up for South Africa's Test tour of Australia with big hundreds in the domestic four-day competition.
Elgar, South Africa's Test captain, scored his first century in exactly a year, with 137 for the Titans against the Knights. His previous hundred came in November 2021, when he scored 117 against Western Province. Elgar's next best score since then is an unbeaten 96 against India at the Wanderers.
In the same match, Klaasen, who was recalled to the Test squad in place of Ryan Rickelton (who had an ankle injury which made him ineligible for national selection but is playing in this round of domestic matches), hit a career-best 292 off 240 balls.
Klaasen has only played one Test for South Africa, on their 2019 tour to India, where he scored 11 runs, but has been part of their white-ball teams since.
Klaasen is travelling as the back-up wicketkeeper but the incumbent, Kyle Verreynne, made sure he made a statement too. He scored a double-hundred of his own for Western Province against Paarl Rocks at Newlands and finished on 201*.
There was less luck for Test opener Sarel Erwee and middle-order batter Khaya Zondo, who made 11 and 15 respectively for the Dolphins against the Warriors.
Keegan Petersen, who would have played in that match too, has been ruled out of action until next year with a torn hamstring. But his most likely Test replacement, Rassie van der Dussen, returned to action after being sidelined for the last two-and-half-months with a broken left index finger. Van der Dussen scored 45 for the Lions against the Dragons.
Temba Bavuma, South Africa's Test vice-captain, is also part of the Lions outfit but, along with Kagiso Rabada, is not required to play a four-day match before traveling to Australia. Bavuma, who endured a torrid white-ball run and is contemplating his future as T20I captain, has been given a break while Rabada, despite his poor T20 World Cup, is having his workload managed.
Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj, who is recovering from a groin injury, will play in next week's round of matches while Gerald Coetzee, Glenton Stuurman and Simon Harmer have played both fixtures so far.
Coetzee bowled to Elgar in the opening stages of his innings at SuperSport Park and finished wicketless from 22 overs, in which he conceded 147 runs. He took 1 for 16 in last week's drawn match against the Dragons.
Stuurman is also without reward in this round of matches so far, with 0 for 42 from 10 overs but took nine wickets in the Warriors' victory over Boland last week. Harmer took 1 for 63 in a rain-affected fixture against Western Province last week.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent