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  • England v SA, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 4th day

Kallis tops South Africa injury worries

Firdose Moonda at Headingley
August 5, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »
The South African management are again trying to nurse 37-year-old Jacques Kallis back to fitness © AFP
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Jacques Kallis, South Africa's premier allrounder, is the team management's main concern for the remainder of the England tour. Kallis is one of three players currently carrying an injury but his lower back spasms are more serious than Graeme Smith's left-knee problem or Alviro Petersen's right hamstring strain.

Kallis will not bowl or field again in the match but "if he has to bat, we will make sure we get him through that" Mohammad Moosajee, South Africa team manager, said. Kallis was the only member of the squad not to make it to the ground on Sunday but spent the day on the physiotherapist's table after he hurt himself while in the field on day three.

"After 17 years of international cricket and with him being an allround player, the load that he has to handle, there's no doubt his back will sometimes seize up," Moosajee said. "We will monitor him overnight and then see what further action needs to be taken."

Kallis has a history of back spasms and Moosajee said the medical staff are well aware of what needs to be done to ensure he regains fitness. "In the past, there have been times where he has responded in a day to treatment but sometimes it takes four or five days for him to respond."

This is the second successive tour during which Kallis has been injured. In March, he missed the third Test against New Zealand in Wellington after suffering a stiff neck the night before the match.

His injury this time means replacement player Faf du Plessis will stay with the Test squad as cover and not travel to Ireland to captain the South African A side, as planned. Du Plessis fielded for the whole England innings and will likely feature in the next tour match against Derby. Justin Ontong will lead the A side in Du Plessis' absence.

Having their second team shadow the national side in Ireland is proving beneficial. Moosajee said that if the national selectors feel there is a need to call anyone up from Ireland because of the ongoing injuries they will, although he is hopeful that both Petersen and Smith will not need to be replaced.

Jacques Rudolph opened the batting in Petersen's place but is unlikely to have to do that at Lord's. "Alviro is seven days away from full fitness and he will bat again if he is required to here," Moosajee said.

Smith joined Rudolph at the top of the order and did not show any signs of discomfort, although he will be fully assessed once the match is over. "Graeme is managing with a heavily strapped knee. We assume he has damaged cartilage or meniscus and I don't think it is something major, or he would not have been able to walk," Moosajee said.

The recent spate of injuries brings to six the number of players who have been wounded on the current England tour. Mark Boucher suffered a lacerated eyeball in the first tour match at Taunton which forced him to retire prematurely from international cricket. Marchant de Lange was next on the aeroplane home after he failed to recover from back spasms which ruled him out of action for up to eight weeks. His replacement, Albie Morkel, has an ankle niggle and was not considered for this match, although he remains with the squad.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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