He has his critics, who believe he doesn’t convert enough good starts, but Temba Bavuma has guts.
Plenty of it.
The diminutive Proteas middle-order batsman provided the unsullied highlight of a rain-shortened third day of the third Test at The Oval.
With South Africa staring down the barrel overnight at 126/8, Bavuma led some fine resistance to help his side avoid the follow-on.
Despite the Proteas still being bowled out for 175, his gritty 52 showed his teammates that no situation is ever too hopeless.
It’s become a hallmark of Bavuma’s Test career.
His average is only 32 to date yet he performs his best when the pressure is on.
Bavuma made 51 in Perth to keep the Proteas afloat and eventually push on for a win against Australia.
In difficult conditions in Hobart, his 74 helped secure a series win.
Earlier this year, there was a magnificent 89 with the Proteas in a pickle that set the foundation for win in Wellington against New Zealand.
Bavuma’s latest success probably won’t save his side, who are still 252 runs behind after England ended on 74/1.
But his application is definitely a lesson the rest of the Proteas batters can heed.
Morne Morkel (1/20) castled Alistair Cook (7) with a beautiful delivery to raise the spirit levels in the camp but Keaton Jennings (34*) and Tom Westley (28*) eventually batted with some comfort as the visitors struggled again.
At least Vernon Philander, who spent a night in hospital with a viral infection, was discharged on Saturday morning and batted at No 11.
He also bowled 6 overs but they went for 30 runs, illustrating that he’s clearly not fully recovered yet.
Hopefully the rain and inaction aided in his recovery.
The Proteas will need him on Sunday.