New Zealand paceman Southee ruled out; Proteas ‘keeper De Kock doubtful starter
New Zealand's hopes of saving the series against South Africa suffered a massive blow on Thursday when paceman Tim Southee was ruled out of the third and final test against South Africa by a hamstring injury.
The 28-year-old pace spearhead suffered a grade one tear of his left hamstring during the second test defeat in Wellington, New Zealand Cricket said.
"He felt discomfort following the second test in Wellington and as a precautionary measure was sent for a scan," read a statement.
"While only a minor tear, he will not be fit for the upcoming match beginning Saturday."
Kane Williamson's side are still sweating on the fitness of left arm seamer Trent Boult, who missed the eight-wicket loss at the Basin Reserve with pain in his hip/groin area.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling told reporters on Wednesday that Boult was still not 100 percent and would be monitored by medical staff ahead of the match at SeddonPark in Hamilton, which starts on Saturday.
Southee will not be replaced in the squad with Neil Wagner and Matt Henry the remaining two pace options. All-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme can also bowl brisk medium pace.
The hosts could still go into the match with two spinners.
In the opposition camp, South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock is a doubt for the third and final Test against New Zealand after he suffered a finger injury during the eight-wicket victory over the hosts last week.
De Kock, whose belligerent knock of 91 in a 160-run partnership with Temba Bavuma swung the second test at the Basin Reserve, was sent to hospital for scans on the injury to his right index finger.
The scans did not show a fracture, team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee told reporters in Hamilton, but the injury could rule him out of the IPL Twenty20 tournament to ensure he is fit for the one-day Champions Trophy and tour of England that follows.
"There is every likelihood he will miss the IPL because he will need at least four to six weeks recovery," Moosajee said.
"The risk is that if he doesn't have that four to six weeks rest, and he further aggravates it, it could jeopardise his participation in the Champions Trophy.
"With that in mind and with the England tour after that, it's important we give him the allocated time to recover for the injury."
The 24-year-old missed training on Wednesday and Thursday and Moosajee said a decision on whether he played in the third test would not be made until Friday.
Uncapped Heinrich Klaasen could take the gloves for the match at SeddonPark, which starts on Saturday.
South Africa lead 1-0 after their victory in Wellington and the rain forecast for the first four days of the Hamilton test could hamper New Zealand's hopes of saving the series.