December 19, 2017 / 8:57 AM / 7 months ago

Cricket: South Africa welcome back top trio for Zimbabwe test

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander will all make long-awaited returns for South Africa at test level after being named in the 14-man squad for next week’s day-night, inaugural four-day contest against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth.

AB de Villiers leaves the nets after attending a practice session ahead of their fourth one-day international cricket match against in Chennai, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

It means South Africa are back to full strength for the first time in almost two years for the Dec 26-29 match at St George’s Park which serves as a warm-up for three home tests against India in January and a series against Australia straight after that.

De Villiers’ last test was against England in Pretoria in January 2016 after which he asked for time out from the long format of the game while Steyn has been recovering from a serious shoulder injury suffered against Australia at Perth just over a year ago.

Philander missed the 2-0 series win over Bangladesh in September and October following an injury on tour to England in mid-year.

Faf du Plessis, who initially looked uncertain with a back injury, will lead the side.

Squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn.

Cricket - Australia v South Africa - First Test cricket match - WACA Ground, Perth, Australia - 5/11/16 Injured South African bowler Dale Steyn sits on the boundary before the start of play at the WACA Ground in Perth. REUTERS/David Gray/Files

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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