South Africa despite losing the Boxing Day Test at Durban badly has retained the same squad of 13 for the third and final Test at Cape Town which begins on January 3, 2012. The Durban Test was the first time that South Africa has lost to Sri Lanka at home in this format of the game. The batting was the problem for the Proteas in that match as they folded to scores of 168 and 241. On the other hand, it was a thumping 208 run-win, also a maiden Test win on South African soil for Sri Lanka in the Second Test at Kingsmead to level the Series 1-1.
Although the same squad has been retained, the Proteas will look at making changes to its playing XI. The axe could most probably fall on opener Jacques Rudolph who hasn't done anything significant in his international comeback. Rudolph has had seven innings since his comeback in which he couldn't delivery a single half-century. Most likely, Rudolph's place is likely to be taken by the right-handed Alviro Petersen.
Another left-hander Ashwell Prince is also feeling the heat for his loss of form in recent times. Prince was also involved in a terrible mix-up with a well-set Hashim Amla to whom he showed his back when the latter had set off for a single towards mid on which probably was the turning point in South Africa's defeat. However, it's highly likely that the Proteas will play one amongst Rudolph and Prince in the Third and Final Test along with the inclusion of Alviro Petersen.
There is a selection problem for the Proteas in the bowling department as Vernon Philander will be back in contention after recovering from a knee injury that put him out of action in the second Test. Philander has taken four consecutive 5-wicket hauls in Test Cricket so far, including a fifer on Debut! There is noway he will be sitting out if fit. At the same time, tall fast bowler Marchant de Lange who made his debut at Durban made the Sri Lankans hop around with a destructive 7-wicket haul in their first innings! If at all a bowler can be dropped, it could be leggie Imran Tahir if the Proteas do decide to go hard at the Lankans with five-pace attack with also all-rounder Kallis in it.
South Africa Squad for Third Test at Cape Town : Graeme Smith (Captain), Jacques Rudolph, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Alvrio Petersen, Mark Boucher (Wicket Keeper), Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir and Marchant de Lange