Hashim Amla will become the eighth South African to appear in 100 Test matches in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka starting at the Wanderers Stadium on Thursday.
Although South Africa are overwhelming favourites after comfortable wins in the first two Tests, the match has significance for the hosts and for Amla in particular.
It will be a test of the team culture achieved under the captaincy of Faf du Plessis and an opportunity for Amla to bat his way out of a rare slump in form.
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott shocked Du Plessis, his fellow players and team management during the second Test in Cape Town when he revealed that five months previously he had signed a Kolpak contract to play county cricket in England.
Although uncapped fast bowler Duanne Olivier was called up to join the squad, Abbott’s likely replacement is existing squad member Wayne Parnell, a left-arm fast bowler who has had a stop-start career, mainly because of injuries. The most recent of Parnell‘s four Test appearances was three years ago.
While there are concerns about Amla’s batting form, most of South Africa’s top order have fired during the series. Sri Lanka’s batsmen have failed to come to terms with the pace, bounce and lateral movement of South African pitches.
The tourists have managed just two individual half-centuries in the first two Tests and captain Angelo Mathews, with 149 runs at an average of 37.25, is the only batsman to have an average above 30.