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July 3, 2014
Saturday bowling test key
Jacques Kallis will be under the close watch of South Africa's medical team to determine whether he requires further treatment for back stiffness ahead of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Kallis was withdrawn from the practice match as a precaution after he felt discomfort during the warm-ups but South Africa's management team are hopeful he will be available for the first match on Sunday.
"The physio worked on him today, we are going to monitor him overnight and if he does not respond to therapy, we plan to get a scan done tomorrow," Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's team manager who is also a medical doctor, said.
"Jakes is the ultimate professional when it comes to preparation. He had a good net session yesterday with bat and ball but from time to time his back does seize up so we've got to monitor it and see how he responds. By tomorrow we will have a better understanding of where he is."
Kallis was the only member of South Africa's 15-man squad who did not feature in the practice match in Moratuwa, despite plans for him to play. He was due to take back his preferred No. 3 spot in the batting line-up, where he is expected to be stationed until next year's World Cup. Kallis will also likely have a small bowling role although his back condition could prove decisive in his role with the ball. Moosajee could not confirm whether Kallis would be picked as a batsman only.
While South Africa will be sweating over the availability of Kallis, they can rest easy about the form of most of their other players. Their frontline seamers all picked up wickets on what Hashim Amla described as "lively" wicket, while all the major batsman - Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy - were among the runs.
Amla, who has been playing county cricket for Surrey, was the most successful with a 79-ball century and explained it was in his plans to get in and then up the ante. "Scoring wasn't easy, " he said. "The thinking was to get a few runs and then retire and get the other guys in. When I got to 50, I thought it was a good time to get the scoring rate up."
Despite South Africa's convincing win against an invitation side which consisted of all but two players who have represented Sri Lanka internationally, Amla said the team will still need to lift their game when the series starts. "There is always a big intensity increase in an international match that you don't get from a warm-up," he said. "The warm-up has its purpose and that was served here but international cricket is wonderful, that's the intensity we enjoy."
South Africa have three more training sessions ahead of the first match of the series, which takes place in Colombo on Sunday.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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