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Duminy retains place in South Africa Test team

February 11, 2009 20:48 IST

JP Duminy has retained his place ahead of Ashwell Prince in South Africa's squad named on Wednesday for the first two home Tests against Australia.

Middle-order batsman Duminy, 24, replaced the injured Prince in the recent series victory in Australia and made a superb 166 to help his side win the second Test in Melbourne.

Prince struck an unbeaten 162 in his last Test innings to rescue South Africa against Bangladesh and he scored 900 runs at an average of 64.28 in 2008.

"There's been a lot of speculation about the whole JP/Ashwell situation, so we decided to name the squad early to maintain the stability of the team and give confidence to the players, who've done so well for us," convenor of selectors Mike Procter told Reuters on Wednesday.

"Ashwell is seriously unlucky, he scored over 160 in his last Test when we were in trouble and he also did fantastic work in England," Procter said.

There had been speculation in South Africa that opening batsman Neil McKenzie, who averaged just 24.20 in the three Tests in Australia, would make way for Prince in a reshuffled batting order.

"We did discuss that but we decided that it would be very harsh to call someone else into service to open the batting," Procter said.

"We did not want to disrupt the batting order from three down because they have put in a hell of a good showing.

"We know Neil did not have a good tour of Australia, but he himself was thrown into the deep end last year to open the batting and he was one of the batsmen to score over a thousand runs in 2008," Procter added.

Uncapped left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe was also named in the 12-man squad with the first Test starting in Johannesburg on Feb. 26.

Squad - Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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