Steyn ruled out of third Test

Johannesburg, January 11

Fast bowler Dale Steyn has been ruled out of this week’s third Test against England in a major blow to South Africa’s bid to get back into the four-match series.

The shoulder injury which restricted his bowling in the first Test and forced him out the second has not healed in time for the third game starting at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday, South Africa coach Russell Domingo said on Monday.

A spasm meant Steyn was able to bowl only 22 balls in the second innings of the first Test in Durban that England won by 241 runs. The second Test at Newlands was drawn last week. Scans on Steyn’s injury initially showed no muscle damage but he has returned to doctors this week to try to diagnose the problem.

The sore shoulder followed a groin injury that kept him out of three of four Tests against India in November and raises questions about his future. Domingo, however, believes the 32-year-old paceman will recover. “I don’t think it’s the end of Dale Steyn,” he said. “All players will experience some sort of niggles. He is a great athlete. He is as fit as they come.”

South Africa had been hoping Steyn, the world’s top-ranked Test bowler, would return to spearhead a four-man seam attack in the high altitude conditions of Johannesburg as they seek to preserve their position at the top of the test rankings.

“We haven’t had him since the first Test in India and that has been disappointing,” Domingo told a news conference. South Africa are also without another key paceman in Vernon Philander, who tore ankle ligaments in India and did not recover as quickly as the team’s management had hoped.