South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth February 19, 2014

De Kock called up as Petersen cover

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa have called up Quinton de Kock as cover for Alviro Petersen, who is suffering from a viral infection. Petersen made 2 and 1 in the 281-run defeat in Centurion and if he is unfit to play it could mean a Test debut for 21-year-old de Kock, a former captain of the Under-19s.

Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain, had said earlier in the day that the team had no injury concerns, other than Ryan McLaren who had previously been ruled out with concussion, and that he expected to be partnered by Petersen. There have been calls in some quarters for for Petersen to be dropped after he looked uneasy facing Mitchell Johnson's pace in the first Test. CSA said that a decision on Petersen's availability would be made before the toss.

Dean Elgar, who can open, was the back-up batsman in the squad, although he was already in contention to replace McLaren. South Africa could be set to make several changes after Robin Peterson was spotted in a bar the night before the Test, with Wayne Parnell the likeliest to come in - leaving JP Duminy and Elgar to provide spin support for a four-man pace attack.

De Kock made his international debut over a year ago but has so far only played limited-overs cricket. A diminutive left-hander who keeps wicket and opens the batting, de Kock made an unspectacular start to his South Africa career before scoring four ODI centuries in little over a month; he became only the fifth batsman to record three consecutive tons during India's visit in December. During a three-day practice match before the Centurion Test he made 50 for a South Africa Composite XI, though followed that with scores of 1 and 7 for Lions last weekend.

Petersen's place had been under scrutiny before falling ill, having averaged 23.92 over the last year, with no hundreds. The 33-year -old has been Smith's regular opening partner since a recall at the start of 2012 and has an average of 37.30 from 29 Tests.

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