JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa spinner Dane Piedt was released from the test squad on Wednesday so that he could play for his domestic franchise, a sign that the hosts will field four fast bowlers in the third test against England starting on Thursday.
Piedt played in the first two tests in Durban and Cape Town, taking nine wickets, and will return to the squad for the last test in Pretoria from Jan 22-26, Cricket South Africa said.
With the third test wicket at the Wanderers in Johannesburg expected to offer more for the pace bowlers, Piedt was released to play for the Cape Cobras.
Batsman Rilee Rossouw was at the same time allowed to play for the Knights in four-day fixtures that start on Thursday.
South Africa will likely keep the attack trio of Morne Morkel, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada from the previous test at Newlands and replace Piedt with either Kyle Abbott or Hardus Viljoen in an all-out pace attack.
Abbott, 28, missed the Cape Town game because of a hamstring strain but is valued for his consistent line and length and has 21 wickets in six previous test appearances.
The 26-year-old Viljoen is uncapped at test level but returned two 10-wicket hauls in domestic four-day matches at the Wanderers last month. “His raw pace really excites me,” said captain AB de Villiers on Wednesday.
England won the first test in Durban by 241 runs and played out a draw at Newlands, despite scoring 629 runs in their first innings, for a 1-0 lead in the four-test series.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Alan Baldwin)