South Africa in England 2012 July 13, 2012

Injured de Lange out of England tour

Marchant de Lange has become the second South Africa player to withdraw from the Test series against England through injury in the opening week of the tour. De Lange sustained a lower back injury during the Twenty20 tri-series in Zimbabwe last month and has not recovered. He will be replaced by Albie Morkel.

South Africa had already suffered a major blow on Tuesday, when wicketkeeper Mark Boucher sustained a career-threatening injury and was forced to retire from international cricket.

"Marchant has been diagnosed with a lower-back stress fracture and will require at least six weeks rest and rehabilitation," Brandon Jackson, the team's physiotherapist, said. "A bone scan was done after his lower-back pain worsened in the past week, showing inflammation in the bottom vertebrae of the spine."

De Lange was not part of the first-choice XI and was only expected to play if there was an injury to one of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander or Morne Morkel. He has played just two Tests - his debut against Sri Lanka in Durban, where he took 7 for 84 in the first-innings and a match against New Zealand in Wellington that Jacques Kallis had to sit out with a stiff neck - but has been part of three South Africa squads.

Injuries have been a major part of de Lange's short career. He broke both his ankles at Under-19 level and could not represent South Africa at age-group level. His back problem is believed to have started during the IPL, when de Lange was contracted to the Kolkata Knight Riders.

South Africa have back up in the bowling department even in De Lange's absence. Left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe remains part of the squad and has already shown match readiness. Tsotsobe was the leading wicket-taker in South Africa's practice match against Somerset earlier in the week, taking 3 for 46 in the first innings.

He will have now competition from Albie Morkel, who will join up with the squad later on Friday. Morkel was already in England, where he was playing for Somerset in the Friends Life t20 and was called an "ideal replacement" for De Lange by convenor of selectors, Andrew Hudson.

"He comes into the squad with invaluable knowledge and experience of UK conditions," Hudson said. "He has a good first-class record and his ability to swing the ball and to contribute with the bat lower down the order gave us the extra incentive to rope him in."

Morkel played five matches in last season's SuperSport Series and scored 326 runs, including a century and two half-centuries, at an average of 46.57. He also took 17 wickets at an average of 27.58. He has only played one Test for South Africa, in 2009, against Australia in Cape Town.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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