Theunis de Bruyn announced himself to the cricket world with a masterful 101, but it was not enough to save South Africa from slumping to defeat in the second test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
De Bruyn has long been hailed as an exceptional talent in South African domestic circles, but has found the introduction to his test career tough, with the constant shuffling around the order not helping his cause.
However the former Tuks star produced a masterclass, easily outshining some of his more established peers. Like his teammates, he had struggled in his first innings, lasting just eight balls before falling to the wily Akila Dananjaya, and many criticised the South African think tank for again sending him at 3 in the second innings ahead of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis.
De Bruyn survived a nervy start, and was saved by the umpire’s call off successive deliveries early in his innings. However he grew in stature and comfort as his innings progressed, and employed the sweep to good effect.
Fantasy Cricket Star and other prediction sites had expected South Africa to go with atleast two spinners at the SSC. Bizarrely though, the Proteas dropped one spinner and chose to go with the extra pacer- a tactic that backfired horribly. Keshav Maharaj waged a lone battle with the ball, with du Plessis forced to turn to the part time spin of Elgar and Markram in the absence of a recognised second spinner. Sri Lanka had three spinners, and they made merry, with the services of sole pacer Suranga Lakmal barely required.
This knock for De Bruyn could not have come at a more timely point in his career- South Africa are still grappling to come to terms with AB De Villiers’ absence, and Hashim Amla isn’t the force he once was. De Bruyn’s knock, in tough conditions away from home, will almost certainly mean that the selectors have to give him a longer run in the squad, and he will be hoping to cement his place in the Proteas test XI.