South Africa will take the field without three senior men in Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn.
Smith has been granted compassionate leave following the death of his grandmother this week while the other two have been rested with niggles.
To an extent, with India arriving on Monday, it’s understandable that the trio be relieved of duty, yet in the case of Smith and Kallis, they might unwittingly be contributing to South Africa’s batting woes.
Both have been regular absentees in the 50-over outfit, forcing the selectors to plug gaps and identify viable successors.
That mission hasn’t been all that successful, prompting the two veterans’ reintegration with the World Cup edging closer.
However, with them now missing again, the rhythm has once again been disrupted, possibly harming continuity in a batting unit trying to regain its confidence.
“I guess it does contribute to a lack of consistency,” admitted batting lynchpin Hashim Amla yesterday.
“Naturally those were for reasons out of our control but in some ways it’s definitely not ideal and makes things difficult. But when you look at it from other perspectives, it’s a way to determine who can fit into what position should the first-choices not be available. It’s not as drastic.”
For the Smith void, Titans skipper Henry Davids has been summoned at the last minute but indications are that he’ll bat at three.
It’s a strange move given his relish for the opener’s slot and Quinton de Kock’s comfort at three in the previous match.
Amla though countered the raised eyebrows.
“He’ll be comfortable. I spoke to him earlier and he said that he doesn’t mind given that he’s basically one early delivery away from batting at the top anyway.
“It’s his home ground and he’s brought a lot of energy in this short time,” he said.
Despite the superficial meaninglessness of this outing, South Africa have a short turnaround time before the three-match India series, which commences on Thursday at the Wanderers, suggesting they need momentum from a victory today.
“When you lose a series, everybody’s probably saying their own harsh words in their own thoughts.
“So you don’t necessarily need words from the coaching staff for motivation. The schedule is so crammed, we need to move on quickly,” said Amla.