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Watson carrying calf niggle

An injured Shane Watson left the field after bowling five overs BCCI

Shane Watson will again test the recuperative powers of Australia's medical and fitness staff after it was revealed that he had been carried a calf niggle through the first week of the tour of South Africa.

While he has batted with freedom in the nets and trained each day, Watson is yet to deliver a ball on tour and will again be absent from the crease on day one of the intra-squad practice fixture at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

"Shane Watson's had some calf tightness so he won't bowl today but will bowl again in the next couple of days building up to the Test," Team doctor Peter Brukner said. "He'll play in the game today and will be fine for the Test match."

The niggle is something of a concern for Australia as Watson's swing and seam is considered an important element of their planning for the series against the world's No. 1 side.

He enjoyed considerable success with the ball on Australia's last visit in 2011, including the spell that doomed South Africa to being bowled out for 96 on day two of the Cape Town Test, before they rebounded to raze the tourists for 47.

Hamstring and calf problems related to bowling have dogged Watson for long tracts of his career, but there has been notable improvement in his ability to come back from them within a few days or even within matches since Brukner's addition to the medical team in 2013.

Twice on last year's Ashes tour, Watson suffered a calf complaint but was still able to play all five Tests and bowl, albeit at a reduced pace. He also kept his place for all five Tests of the 5-0 sweep of England at home despite suffering similar trouble before the first Test in Brisbane and during the fourth in Melbourne.