Peter Fulton, the New Zealand batsman, has been ruled out of the two-Test series against South Africa because of a tendon injury to his right knee. The problem is an old one that has recurred throughout Fulton's career and flared up again during the practice match against the South African Invitation XI in Paarl.

Fulton had opened the batting with Martin Guptill and was at the crease for an hour and six minutes on the first day. He scored 39 and did not appear to be in any discomfort, but on assessment on the second morning the injury was deemed too serious for him to stay on the tour.

"We have been monitoring the injury closely and Peter played yesterday in an effort to determine whether the injury would affect his batting. By the end of his innings the pain was significant and it became clear that the injury would prevent him from playing a full range of shots," Paul Close, the New Zealand physiotherapist said. "Due to the condensed nature of the tour there is insufficient time to fully recover and he has therefore been withdrawn from the squad. We believe it is best for Peter to return to New Zealand where he can undergo further assessment and continue his rehabilitation."

Fulton was unlikely to play in the two-Test series, with Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum set to open the batting. New Zealand retained Colin Munro from the Twenty20 series as cover and also have Daniel Flynn as an extra batsman in the squad.

This is the second withdrawal from New Zealand's Test squad after Tim Southee had to pull out of with a thumb injury. Southee was replaced by left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan, who was also part of the T20 squad and impressed with his performances in that series.