In the first session of the Boxing Day Test against India, Temba Bavuma suffered a left hamstring strain, raising doubts about his participation in the match. Bavuma left the field in the 20th over and underwent a scan. According to a Cricket South Africa statement, Bavuma will undergo daily medical evaluations to determine if he will be able to continue playing in the match.
Bavuma sustained the injury while fielding at mid-off when Virat Kohli hit a shot through extra cover. Despite not having to dive for the ball, Bavuma clutched his hamstring in pain as he caught up to it. He received on-field treatment and then departed unaided. Dean Elgar, the former Test captain, took over leadership duties, moving from slip to mid-off.
This was Bavuma’s first appearance since South Africa’s semi-final at the 50-over World Cup on November 16, where he played with a right hamstring strain. Although he did not leave the field at any point, he batted for 49 minutes as South Africa chased 245 runs against Afghanistan. Bavuma did not have a scan in India but underwent a rehabilitation program and was cleared to play the semi-final, despite not being entirely fit. South Africa lost that match by three wickets.
After being rested from their next assignment, Bavuma missed a four-day first-class match due to a family bereavement. On the eve of the Test, he declared himself “mentally as fresh as ever” and was a strong presence in the field for the first 90 minutes of play, delayed due to overnight rain.
If Bavuma is unable to bat, South Africa will be a player short for the rest of the match as he cannot be replaced due to an external injury. His availability for the New Year’s Test may also be a concern, with the second Test scheduled to start on January 3 in Cape Town.