South Africa have been beset by injuries to three of their top-order batsmen with Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen and Jacques Kallis all struggling during the ongoing second Test against England at Headingley.
Petersen has a grade one hamstring strain, Smith jarred his knee fielding on day three and Kallis has suffered a recurrence of lower back spasms.
Although Petersen's injury has prevented him from batting in South Africa's second innings, Smith and Kallis have taken their place in the middle as the match appears destined for a draw.
With a ten-day gap between the second and third Tests, the three players may have enough time to recover, although it would appear likely that they may miss the tour game against Derbyshire, which begins on Saturday 11th August.
Commenting on the fitness of almost one half of the specialist batsmen in the side, team manager Mohammad Moosajee commented:
"Alviro Petersen’s hamstring strain is coming along, he is still about seven days away from full fitness and if he has to bat in this Test match he will.
"Graeme Smith is managing with a heavily strapped left knee. He jammed his knee into the ground while fielding a ball at the boundary yesterday evening. We assume that he may have damaged something from a posterior aspect, either his cartilage or meniscus but we will have a proper look once the Test match is over.
"Our main concern is Jacques Kallis. He has an issue with lower back spasms, he has had this problem before and with his long career and with him being an all-rounder, the load that he has to handle has affected his back. He strained it while diving for a catch in the slips yesterday and he will be closely monitored over night to see how he responds to treatment. If he has to bat we will make sure that he is well supported."
Although South Africa lead the series 1-0 and have produced excellent performances on the field, they have had their share of injury woes in England.
Marchant de Lange was ruled out before the tour began and his replacement Albie Morkel was subsequently also injured. His replacement in the squad, Francois du Plessis, has spent ample time on the field in Headingley as a substitute fielder.
The most severe injury, however, came in the tour game against Somerset, when wicket-keeper Mark Boucher's career was ended prematurely after a bail lodged in his eye.
Thami Tsolekile replaced him in the squad but AB de Villiers took over the gloves.
© Cricket World 2012
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