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Injuries rock New Zealand, South Africa ahead of final Test
South Africa tour of New Zealand

Injuries rock New Zealand, South Africa ahead of final Test

Tim Southee ruled out; de Kock doubtful for the final showdown at Sedon Park.


Injuries rocked New Zealand and South Africa Thursday, two days out from the start of the third and final Test in Hamilton with Tim Southee ruled out and Quinton de Kock doubtful.


New Zealand, under pressure to win if they are to level the series, were already sweating on their firepower and the availability of Trent Boult when his new-ball partner Southee was sidelined by a hamstring injury.


South Africa have no experienced backup for de Kock, who plays a prominent role in their balance as a wicketkeeper-batsman. The uncapped Heinrich Klaasen is travelling as the sole replacement.


The injuries added to the dark clouds hovering near Hamilton with the forecast for showers throughout the five days of the Test, reducing the prospect of a result.


South Africa, in an unbeatable 1-0 lead after the eight-wicket, three-day thrashing they inflicted on New Zealand in the second Test at Wellington, said they would make a late call on whether the influential de Kock would play.


New Zealand, however, ruled out Southee as soon as his hamstring tear was confirmed but said there would be no replacement bowler called up.


This indicated a start for Boult, who missed the Wellington Test through leg soreness and has only had light sessions in the nets this week ahead of a final fitness test.


Complicating South Africa's team selection with the question mark over de Kock was the state of the pitch.


They had called in Dane Piedt as a fresh spinner before Keshav Maharaj and JP Duminy performed with distinction in Wellington but expectations of a spinners paradise in Hamilton appeared to be unfounded.


The pitch has a typical New Zealand grass cover, which seemed at odds with coach Mike Hesson's claim that it would be unwise to do anything that would further assist South Africa's impressive seam bowling attack.

- AFP