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South Africa coach backing 'top-class' Tristan Stubbs to make Test number three spot his own

South Africa head coach Shukri Conrad has backed Tristan Stubbs to make the number three spot his own in the Test side ahead of next month's two-match series in West Indies.

The 23-year-old only has one previous appearance in the five-day format, scoring three and one in the defeat against India in the New Year's Test at Newlands.

Stubbs has made his name in white-ball cricket domestically and for the Proteas and will now have the opportunity cement his place in the Test team.

The Proteas take on the Windies in two Tests next month, followed by a series in Bangladesh before tackling Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home.

Conrad seems to have settled on his top five in the batting order with Tony de Zorzi earmarked to replace the now retired Dean Elgar as Aiden Markram's opening partner.

Captain Temba Bavuma will bat at number four with David Bedingham, who has scored a century and two fifties in his first four Test matches, set to follow his skipper at number five.

Conrad said of Stubbs: "I think he is one of the best around, and I think unfairly people have just seen him as a T20 and a white ball player.

"If you look at the way he came in during the (T20) World Cup, and commanded his space and imprinted himself on games, so I think Tristan's going be a hell of a player.

"He is the type of cricketer that I want at the top of the order, and I think he has got all the makings of a top-class number three batter."

Conrad is certain that he is not throwing Stubbs into the deep end in the longest format with the number three spot in Test cricket usually occupied by the team's technically best batter.

Stubbs has certainly showed that he is more than capable of occupying the crease for long periods domestic red-ball cricket as the right-handed batter averages more than 50 in 18 first-class matches while he also scored a triple-century last season.

The Proteas mentor added: "I certainly wouldn't be giving anybody something to do if I didn't think they were capable of doing it, certainly not hanging him out to dry.

"We've got eight Test matches, so he'll get a really good run and he is definitely one for the future."

The Proteas Test squad - minus the players taking take part in the MLC in the USA - will gather for a camp in Durban from 15-19 July.

The team will then fly out to Trinidad on 27 July with a four-day warm-up fixture scheduled to be played from 31 July.

The first Test will take place at the Queens Park Oval from 7 August while the second and final match of the series will be played in Guyana from 15 August.

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