De Villiers and Steyn back in Test fold

19 December 2017 11:29

AB De Villiers and Dale Steyn will resume their Test careers as South Africa play Zimbabwe in an inaugural four-day day-night match on Boxing Day.

De Villiers has not played the longest form of the game since January 2016 due to injury and a self-imposed sabbatical, but he has been named in the Proteas squad for the Port Elizabeth Test starting next Tuesday.

Steyn has also endured a lengthy absence from the side after he suffered a serious shoulder injury against Australia last winter, which required surgery and the pair, who made their debut in the same game in 2004, are joined in the squad by Vernon Philander.

Philander suffered an injury on the tour to England in the summer but is now fit.

De Villiers, who averages over 50 from his 106 Tests, appeared to have called time on his five-day career after making himself unavailable for selection, but has had second thoughts.

The batsman will not be available for South Africa Invitation XI's three-day warm-up game with Zimbabwe, however, due to stiffness in his lower back, but his absence is thought to be precautionary.

South Africa selector Linda Zondi said: "It is a very exciting moment not just for South Africa but for world cricket to have Dale and AB, two icons of the game, back in the multi-day format.

"After Zimbabwe we have two very tough home Test series coming up against India, the number one ranked side in the world, and Australia, who have just regained the Ashes in their current series against England.

"AB and Dale bring loads of experience to the side (as well as) being two of the South African all-time greats."

Source: PA