Injury-hit West Indies face uphill battle
Brian Lara was injured in training on Wednesday as batsman Chris Gayle and Corey Collymore were ruled out of the second Test.Updated: Dec 24, 2003 22:58 IST
The West Indies, already hard hit by injuries, had a scare on Wednesday when captain Brian Lara was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays after being hit on the left arm during practice for the second Test against South Africa starting at Kingsmead Friday.
Manager Ricky Skerritt said Lara was taken to hospital for x-rays after being hit on the left forearm by a net bowler while batting at Kingsmead, but that he was later cleared to play in his 100th Test match.
"Brian's fine," Skerrit said after Lara had left the hospital.
"The x-rays revealed that there were no broken bones," he said in comments quoted by the SAPA news agency.
Coach Gus Logie earlier revealed that opening batsman Chris Gayle and pace bowler Corey Collymore had both been ruled out of the match because of hamstring injuries.
Logie said the injuries provided opportunities for young players to prove themselves but it was not clear which of the touring youngsters would play.
Uncapped specialist batsman Dwayne Smith and reserve wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, who has played in two Tests are the contenders for Gayle's batting place.
Fast bowler Adam Sanford, who took five wickets in the rain-hit match against Border last weekend, is likely to slot into Collymore's place if the West Indies decide on an all-seam attack, but left-arm spinner Dave Mohammed will also be considered.
The West Indies went into the first Test in Johannesburg, which South Africa won by 189 runs, without a specialist spin bowler because Gayle was expected to bowl a reasonable number of overs of off-spin.
But Gayle tore his hamstring early in the match and did not bowl.
Logie said the final decision would be made after a discussion with former batting star Viv Richards, the convenor of selectors, who joined the squad in Durban.
The South Africans will go into the match as favourites after a convincing win in Johannesburg. They have no major injury worries, although the selectors will want to be sure that opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs has fully recovered after suffering a broken nose in the first Test.
Experienced batsman Gary Kirsten will return for South Africa after missing the first Test to be at the birth of his first child. South Africa named a squad of 13, so it was not clear which of Jacques Rudolph, Neil McKenzie and Martin van Jaarsveld would make way for Kirsten.
In another change, left-arm wrist spinner Paul Adams replaced orthodox left-armer Robin Peterson but the state of the Kingsmead pitch will determine whether Adams is in the starting line-up.
If it is decided, conditions are likely to be seam-friendly, all-rounder Andrew Hall could be picked to augment the South African pace attack.
Lara again shapes as a key player after making 202 in the first innings in Johannesburg. He will be only the sixth West Indian and 28th player in history to appear in 100 Test matches.
He will be hoping for better support from his teamates. Only Daren Ganga and Shivnarine Chanderpaul made half-centuries for the West Indies in the first Test as pressure exerted by South Africa's disciplined bowling attack told on the tourists.
Vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan showed signs of a return to form when he made an unbeaten 71 against Border. He said after Wednesday's practice that he had benefitted from advice to "watch the ball more closely."
The West Indies wrapped up their formal preparation before the South Africans got down to work. The home side were due to practice Wednesday afternoon and again on Christmas Day.
Logie said there would be a voluntary practice for the tourists on Thursday.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Mark Boucher (vice-captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Gary Kirsten, Neil McKenzie, Martin van Jaarsveld, Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Paul Adams, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel.
West Indies: Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), Wavell Hinds, Daren Ganga, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Smith, Ridley Jacobs, Carlton Baugh, Vasbert Drakes, Mervyn Dillon, Fidel Edwards, Ravindarnath Rampaul, Adam Sanford, Dave Mohammed.
Umpires: Simon Taufel and Darrell Hair (AUS)
Television umpire: Ian Howell (RSA)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)
First Published: Dec 24, 2003 22:36 IST