South Africa in Australia 2012-13 November 24, 2012

Jacques Kallis doubtful for Perth Test

Jacques Kallis will bat in the ongoing second Test in Adelaide but the exacerbation of his hamstring injury is likely to rule him out of the third Test in Perth, starting November 30. The South African selectors are considering naming a replacement player as cover.

Kallis is suffering from a grade 1 hamstring strain which was sustained after he bowled 3.3 overs in the first innings on Thursday. He left the field immediately and did not return for the rest of the day but was cleared to bat. He could only come in at No.7, because of the time off the field but was only ready to bat at No.9. Kallis spent two hours at the crease, in which he scored 58 off 93 balls, 46 of which were in boundaries.

"Our physiotherapist worked on him and it had gone so well that by the time he went out to bat, most symptoms had almost been eliminated," Mohammad Moosajee, South Africa's team manager, said.

"With the time he spent batting, it would be fair to say that he aggravated his injury. He will also bat in the second innings and so there is no guarantee he will be fit for the third Test because of the turnaround of only three days. The selectors are looking at the possibility of sending out somebody else as cover."

Kallis was South Africa's third highest run-scorer and he looked only mildly uncomfortable throughout his innings. At times, he could only walk between the wickets although he was able to jog through some singles. He will not field at all. As a result, he will only be able to bat at No.7 again in the second knock.

It will mean a battle through pain again, something Kallis has become used to. During the third Test against India in Cape Town in January 2010, Kallis batted with a side strain which Moosajee then said was like "being stabbed in the ribs on every ball." He scored a century in both innings. This time, the hurt could be even greater. "That was different as we could use anaesthetic so it was just numb. Here, whenever he reaches forward or ducks under a bouncer or stretches, he will feel it."

South Africa have already suffered one injury blow on the tour. JP Duminy was ruled out of Brisbane Test after the first day when he ruptured his Achilles' tendon. South Africa played that match with 10 men and Faf du Plessis debuted in Duminy's place in Adelaide. Dean Elgar, a top-order batsman, was called in as cover.

Elgar's has yet to play a Test for South Africa and has only featured briefly in the one-day squad. His inexperience may be the reason the selectors are looking at someone else. With that in mind, one of Ashwell Prince, Justin Ontong or Neil McKenzie could be recalled in an emergency. If South Africa are looking for a seam-bowling all-rounder, they do not have much to choose from. Ryan McLaren would be the only obvious contender.

Other options may include moving AB de Villiers or Jacques Rudolph up the order and slotting in someone lower down. It's a complicated problem for South Africa to face on their first defence of the No.1 ranking. Either a series win or a draw will ensure they do not have to hand over the mace to Australia.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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