Cape Town - South Africa's long-standing search for a No 3 since Hashim Amla's retirement is seemingly done after the impressive Keegan Petersen received a glowing endorsement from Proteas legend AB de Villiers on Wednesday.
Petersen single-handedly held South Africa's first innings together in this series-deciding Test here at Newlands with a superb 72. It was his second consecutive half-century of the series.
The classy right-hander from Paarl displayed a water-tight technique against a rampant Indian attack, led by the relentless Jasprit Bumrah who was testing both edges of the bat throughout the day.
"The long and the short is Keegan Petersen CAN play! I’m very excited with the composure, skill and technique I’ve seen against one of the best attacks in the world," De Villiers posted.
The long and the short is Keegan Petersen CAN play! I’m very excited with the composure, skill and technique I’ve seen against one of the best attacks in the world.— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) January 12, 2022
Petersen’s rise in stature is in complete contrast to Aiden Markram's continued struggles.
The Proteas opener has been desperately short of Test runs for an elongated period of time now, culminating in an embarrassing dismissal in the first innings here when he shouldered arms to Jasprit Bumrah's second delivery of the day only to see it crash into his off stump.
Since scoring a 1000 runs in his first 10 Tests, Markram has managed just 884 at 26.78 in his following 19 matches. In that period he has added just one century - in Pakistan last year - to accompany his previous four.
There has been speculation that the best utilisation of Markram's undoubted talent may prompt a move down the order as he has successfully achieved in white-ball cricket.
This could possibly mean though that Petersen be pushed up to open the innings alongside captain Dean Elgar.
𝐅![CDATA]>𝐈![CDATA]>𝐅![CDATA]>𝐓![CDATA]>𝐘 𝐔![CDATA]>𝐏 🏏— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) January 12, 2022
Keegan Petersen does it again! He brings up his second fifty of the series following his first at the Wanderers.
📺 Stream #SAvIND live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 pic.twitter.com/tO7WKk8elF
Petersen, however, is not in favour of such a move and instead is backing his teammate to come good.
"I like batting three, I’ve batted there for most of my career," Petersen said.
"We've got two quality openers, they've just had a rough time. Aiden is going through a bit of a patch but he is a quality player. He will come through eventually. We all know that. I am happy to be playing and if I can make No. 3 mine I will be happy."