South Africa in England 2012 July 11, 2012

Petersen set to test injury against Kent

Alviro Petersen will play in South Africa's second match of their tour to England against Kent, despite carrying an injury on his left foot but Marchant de Lange, the fast bowler, remains a doubt with a back problem. Petersen took no part in the two-day tour game against Somerset in Taunton after picking up the niggle during the squad's first training day on Saturday. However, in the interests of ensuring he has game time before the Test series he will be part of the team that plays in Canterbury.

"Alviro went for a scan yesterday and the results show a minor joint sprain but he will push on to play this weekend," Lerato Malekutu, South Africa's media manager told ESPNCricinfo. Petersen and his opening partner Graeme Smith have not batted together since March when they played in a Test match against New Zealand in Wellington. Petersen, though, has had competitive cricket since that tour as he represented Essex in the County Championship and scored a century for them against his former club Glamorgan.

Smith had his first outing since recovering from ankle surgery on Monday but scored just 10 before a booming drive took the edge and he was caught behind. Jacques Rudolph, who joined Smith at the top of the order in Petersen's absence, managed 5 and was out in the same way. Rudolph's form as an opener does not seem to have improved since he was also unsuccessful in that role during his Test comeback last November. He played five matches without a half-century and was moved down the order to No.6, allowing for Petersen to return to the top of the line-up.

Given the composition of the squad South Africa have brought with them to England, Petersen's fitness is crucial to their plans because they do not have another proven opener. If his injury worsens and he cannot play the first Test, Rudolph may have to do the job and it could allow for both JP Duminy, who has been tipped to bat at No.7 in the first Test, and replacement wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile to feature in the starting XI.

De Lange's injury is less serious from a team perspective, because he was unlikely to be called upon unless there any of the frontline seamers became unavailable. It could, however, have an impact on his longer term availability which will concern South Africa's medical staff.

In his short international career, De Lange has already had more than one back problem. He also broke both his ankles as a schoolboy and was unable to represent South Africa at Under-19 level. "Marchant's back scan is scheduled for Thursday and we'll know more after that," Malekutu said.

South Africa have back up in the bowling department, though. Left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe is part of the squad and played in the tour match against Somerset. Although Tsotsobe had a poor first spell, he returned to take 2 for 9 in his second burst and finished with figures of 3 for 46 in the first innings. He also bowled again on Tuesday for three overs, showing marked improvement from his time in Zimbabwe when he appeared wayward.

Allan Donald, South Africa's bowling coach was pleased with the strides Tsotsobe had taken. "We worked very hard on his intensity," Donald said. "That was the one thing that was missing in his approach - intensity. With that also comes a bit of shape and when he does that well, he gets a bit of swing."

Donald was also unconcerned about Morne Morkel, who was taken for 24 in his first over by Peter Trego conceded while conceding six an over overall and seemed to have gone backward from the progression in made in New Zealand and the IPL. "When you come on tour, the first thing you want to do is get that form, that confidence, that rhythm," Donald said. "I'm not displeased about the performance."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Richard on July 12, 2012, 18:22 GMT

    @SurlyCynic, couldn't have said it better, @landl47 mmmm let's count how many 'English' stars are really South African. Enough said.

  • des on July 12, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    SA has less depth because players that came up through their system and played in the U21 team (like Trott and Kieswetter) now play in other countries.

  • John on July 12, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    @Jwara, if you read my comment you'll see I specifically excluded Bairstow or his replacement (which would be Bopara if picked) from my list of top-quality players. Bopara has had a very good ODI series against Australia, but has yet to turn his talent into consistent test results. Strauss, on the other hand, has almost 7000 test runs at an average of 41.74 with 21 centuries, so yes, I consider him a top player, especially as he is coming off a couple of centuries and player of the series (for England) award against the WI. ABD is a better batsman than Prior, but with all due respect he is a part-time ODI wicket-keeper and SA not only lose quality at W/K but also lose ABD's fielding ability. I agree it looks like an even series, with SA's stars against England's depth. I just hope the weather doesn't play too big a part.

  • Nyameko on July 12, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    @land147 are you saying strauss and bopara are top notch batsmen?? That is debatable.. Sure strauss started with with a hiss and roar but his outputs have diminished significantly in the last 3 years until he got stuck into the Windies.. Bopara is well Bopara, get on top of him and he crumbles. I like prior as an alrounder though, but if matched against de villiers i wonder. England have a definite edge in the spinning department. So it's probably even stevens going into the 1st test match.

  • John on July 11, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    I wasn't displeased about Morkel's performance either, I hope he has many more like it. The problem for SA is depth. If any of the stars are under par, their replacements are not of the best quality. It only takes one of Smith, Amla, De Villiers and Kallis to have a bad series and SA are in trouble. It only takes one of Steyn, Philander and Morkel to be not firing and the bowling's shaky. Given that all the SA big names are going to have to perform at their best if SA is to win this series, that doesn't leave them much leeway. England have 6 good bats to SA's 4 and 4 top-class bowlers to SA's 3 (I'm excluding only Bairstow or his replacement from that list) so a single player being off-form doesn't affect them as much. If all SA's stars perform at their optimum level, they may have enough to win. That's asking a lot against a very competent and confident England side.

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