South Africa in England 2012 July 13, 2012

Injured de Lange out of England tour

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pratchett on July 16, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    @sirviv1973 You don't bat your best batsman at #7. AB should move UP the order, not down!

  • AKS286 on July 16, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    @Meety re capslock i think you are pointing RAHULCRICKET007. damn true hahhahaha

  • JG2704 on July 16, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    @Meety on (July 15 2012, 11:22 AM GMT) - As I posted in UAE , there were occasions when I feel an extra bowling option would have given us a better opportunity of winning. Can't remember which test it was but there was one where we had them 4 down and still trailing and we could not take that vital 5th wicket. Even at home I believe we could improve with 5 bowlers.I know that it was a bit of a freak inns but our 4 bowlers could not finish off the last WI innings when we had them in huge trouble at 7 down. Re your question , I believe that an extra bowler would reduce the opposition score by more than the 5th batsman increases ours

  • Meety on July 15, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    @SirViv1973 - know where you are coming from, but unless there has been a MAJOR change in Management in the CSA, I would say that over time they are conservative. Therefore I would say that they want at least 7 reasonable batsmen. Over the years - they have been chockful of good allrounders, such that they were batting centric (remebering when Klusenser batted at #7 or #8 as a specialist bowler who batted (should of been @#6). AB may well bat @ #5, - you are probably right, I think they'll be killing the golden goose if they do! @JG2704 - re: Capslock - I'd be the LAST person on this site to worry about that. I think it really emphasises a point well, it ONLY sucks when people write an ENTIRE paragraph in capslock! IMO - 5-1-5 only works (over time) when you are CHASING a win - eg: behind 2-1 with a test to go!

  • Meety on July 15, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @ JG2704 - mate you are 100% right regarding any batsmen who has saved England from #6 in recent times. That being said 1) does that not mean they SHOULDN'T be saved from #6, AND 2) If the bowlers are doing the job, do they really need EXTRA support? I discussed with @trueman's Ghost (love that monica), the merits of Siddle where I said he had heart & made out it was important but maybe something not overly coverted in England cricket of late because you haven't really needed it from bowlers! ATM - the average Eng fan wants nothing but skill from their bowlers as they are regularly are taking 20 wickets per match. That would suggest to me that at the very least, on the home front england only need 4 bowlers, (accept a totally different arguement in Asia/UAE). So, IMO, the question is, would the extra bowler lead to more wickets such that the long term lack of runs will suffice? I say no, bearing in mind that Prior (done well so far) is outperforming his FC stats!

  • JG2704 on July 14, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    @Meety on (July 14 2012, 11:01 AM GMT) I feel it's horses for courses. With your guys you have Hussey coming in at 6 and the guy is a real tower with the bat. I've done the stats of how our number 6 has performed over recent years and how the batting depth has only really happened on paper and I'LL ASK ALL ENG FANS TO NAME AN OCCASION IN THE LAST FEW YEARS WHEN THE 6TH ENGLISH BATSMAN HAS CHANGED THE COURSE OF AN INNINGS? Sorry to do the capsloc bit there. I would not mind if we had a tower at number 6 and although I've always liked the 5/1/5 formation I'd be happy to go along with those who like the 6/1/4 formation if they could give me an example of where we've won a test or even saved a test in the last 2 or 3 years which we would not have/unlikely have done with a 5/1/5. It could be that Ravi comes in and proves me wrong and I'll be happy if that happens but it seem we've been obsessively looking for a number 6 when we could have been adding to our bowling unit instead.

  • AKS286 on July 14, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    smith, petersen, amla, kallis, AB, rudolph, duminy, der merve/ontong/tsotsobe, philander,morkel, styen

  • SirViv1973 on July 14, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    @Meety, I agree re dropping AB down the order to 7, but i've got a feeling the saffers are gonna leave him at 5 for the first test at least.

  • AKS286 on July 14, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    no mclaren no albie. justin ontong or van der merve. klienveldt is better option to fill de lange. agree with @whatawicket.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on July 14, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    It's roused less comment than Boucher's retirement (naturally) but potentially this is a real blow for South Africa. De Lange is a more than useful back up bowler and a bit of an unknown quantity. He could have rattled a few English batsmen.

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