Southee out, de Kock in doubt for third Test

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WELLING­TON: In­juries rocked New Zealand and South Africa yes­ter­day, two days from the start of the third and fi­nal Test in Hamil­ton with Tim Southee ruled out and Quin­ton de Kock doubt­ful.

New Zealand, un­der pres­sure to win if they are to level the se­ries, were al­ready sweat­ing on their fire­power and the avail­abil­ity of Trent Boult when his new­ball part­ner Southee was side­lined by a ham­string in­jury.

South Africa have no ex­pe­ri­enced back up for de Kock, who plays a prom­i­nent role in their bal­ance as a wick­et­keeper-bats­man. The un­capped Hein­rich Klaasen is trav­el­ling as the sole re­place­ment.

The in­juries added to the dark clouds hov­er­ing near Hamil­ton with the fore­cast for show­ers through­out the five days of the Test, re­duc­ing the prospect of a re­sult.

South Africa, in an un­beat­able 1-0 lead af­ter the eight-wicket, three-day thrash­ing they in­flicted on New Zealand in the sec­ond Test at Welling­ton, said they would make a late call on whether the in­flu­en­tial de Kock would play.

New Zealand, how­ever, ruled out Southee as soon as his ham­string tear was con­firmed but said there would be no re­place­ment bowler called up.

This in­di­cated a start for Boult, who missed the sec­ond test through leg sore­ness and has only had light ses­sions in the nets this week ahead of a fi­nal fit­ness test.

Com­pli­cat­ing South Africa’s team se­lec­tion with the ques­tion mark over de Kock was the state of the pitch.

The pitch has a typ­i­cal New Zealand grass cover, which seemed at odds with coach Mike Hes­son’s claim that it would be un­wise to do any­thing that would fur­ther as­sist South Africa’s im­pres­sive seam bowl­ing at­tack.

His South African coun­ter­part, Russell Domingo, was pleased with what he saw at Sed­don Park, de­spite hav­ing a swag of spin­ners at his dis­posal.

“Ev­ery­one was say­ing it was go­ing to be a dust­bowl, but it doesn’t look like a dust­bowl at the mo­ment... it looks a good wicket,” he said. AFP

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