Before the series against Zimbabwe started, Graeme Smith said how his team would be using the two Tests to pick up some momentum ahead of their tour to West Indies, starting at the end of March. After the opening day at Centurion his team have picked up enough injuries to throw the planning into chaos.
Shaun Pollock did not even make the Test, given the opportunity to rest the tendonitis in his left ankle, which is becoming an ongoing saga to rival Andrew Flintoff's. There is talk that he will not make the start of the tour and could miss the opening Test in Guyana, starting March 31, although Gerald de Kock, in his final act as South Africa's media manager said: "at this stage it is far to early to say he will miss the first Test." A South African attack without Pollock has a very different, and much less threatening, look.
The plan was that Pollock's rest would allow one of the fringe candidates for the tour to stake their claim. Andre Nel and Monde Zondeki returned to the team, while Charl Langeveldt had another chance to impress. But now Langeveldt is unlikely to bowl again in this Test match, which means he has failed to complete any of his three games. A tour of the Caribbean is not the place for an injury-prone bowler.
Andre Nel is the favourite to go to the West Indies, but he suffered a hamstring strain and only got through 12 overs on the first day at Centurion. However, he has a big heart and came back to take the new ball, so his injury does not look tour-threatening. Jacques Kallis carries such a weight for South Africa with the bat that it is questionable why he is playing this match before an important tour. The point was reinforced, after he too went off, needing treatment on his right hip. He did not look entirely comfortable when he returned with the new ball. By the end of the day even Monde Zondeki, who carried the attack, was looking less than sprightly in the outfield.
To add to the bowler's troubles, Graeme Smith is having problems with his ankle and Jacques Rudolph has a long-term back problem that restricts the amount of bowling he can do.