Wessels tips Piedt to replace Tahir in Colombo

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Former captain Kepler Wessels has suggested South Africa drop leg-spinner Imran Tahir and retain wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock for the second Test against Sri Lanka, which will get underway in Colombo on Thursday.

Former captain Kepler Wessels has suggested South Africa drop leg-spinner Imran Tahir and retain wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock for the second Test against Sri Lanka, which will get underway in Colombo on Thursday.

Tahir proved expensive and largely ineffective in the first Test in Galle, which the Proteas won by 153 runs on the back of fast bowler Dale Steyn's nine-wicket haul, while de Kock clinched a record nine dismissals – eight catches and one stumping.

The uncapped Dane Piedt has since emerged as a potential replacement for the out-of-form Tahir, while the young de Kock is likely to keep the wicketkeeping role despite the veteran AB de Villiers' imminent return to full fitness.

De Villiers was selected as a specialist batsman in Galle, scoring a vital half-century in the second innings. The left-handed de Kock, too, struck a telling half-ton down the order.

"Having de Kock batting at seven lengthens the South African batting line-up. This may well be the moment where de Kock officially becomes the wicketkeeper-batsman in the Test team as well, allowing de Villiers to focus all his attention on his batting," Wessels wrote on <i>Supersport.com</i>.

"The seven batsman combination is the ideal one for the Proteas and if de Kock is going to bat at seven he may as well fill the 'keeping duties, which will allow de Villiers to concentrate solely on his batting.

"Unfortunately Tahir didn't contribute enough, particularly during the second innings. He is definitely a better T20I and ODI bowler. He bowls too many loose deliveries during Test matches. He doesn't land his stock delivery, which is the leg-spinner, effectively enough during the longer version of the game.

"It may be an idea to give Piedt an opportunity during the second Test match, particularly now that the faster bowlers are bowling so well and that the Proteas can't lose the series."

The Sinhalese Sports Club Ground will host the series decider. The Sri Lankans have only lost two of the last 20 Test matches at this venue. Six of the previous 10, however, have ended in a draw.

"I would imagine that Sri Lanka will now try and prepare a pitch with significant turn from day one in an effort to play to their strength and even up the series. The Proteas have their confidence up and will go for the jugular in the second Test," concluded Wessels.

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