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Double injury blow for England; Du Plessis warns team

Last updated on: January 02, 2020 21:50 IST
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The second Test at Newlands starts on Friday with England 1-0 down in the four-match series after losing by 107 runs in Pretoria last Sunday.

Jofra Archer

IMAGE: England bowler Jofra Archer chats with physio Craig de Weymarn during England training at Newlands in Cape Town. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

England faced a double injury blow ahead of the second Test against South Africa as Rory Burns and Jofra Archer were declared doubtful for Friday's start at Newlands.

Burns joined Archer on the sidelines after injuring his left ankle warming up before Thursday’s practice in a kickabout with a soccer ball.


Archer, who burst on the scene at last year's World Cup, pulled up with the injury in practice on Wednesday. Both were awaiting the results of scans on Thursday before any decision on their participation was made, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

Burns, 29, is the latest in a growing tale of woe for the tourists since arriving in South Africa on December 14.

First a flu virus swept through the squad, with 10 players going down at one stage or another immediately after the team’s arrival through to the end of the first Test in Pretoria, which England lost by 107 runs on Sunday.

Burns top scored for England with 84 runs.

Burns' misfortune comes after Archer pulled out of bowling practice on Wednesday despite earlier batting and fielding with the rest of the team .

"It was quite disappointing to see him pull up like that and now we'll just have to make another late call," captain Joe Root said of Archer’s injury on Thursday.

"It's been frustrating throughout, but these things happen in sport and you got to manage them as best you can and we are trying to do everything we can to make sure that if anyone does pick up illness or injury, others are fit and ready to go."

Root conceded that potentially losing Archer would be a major blow to England, seeking to get themselves back into the series at a venue where South Africa have rarely lost.

"If you look at his short career, he's made impacts with big moments in big Test matches so, of course, it will be a big loss if he is not fit to play but it creates another opportunity for someone else," Root said.

But England were still some way off a final selection, Root added.

"Everything is still on the table as it stands. We'll make a decision on the surface when we've had a closer look at it, maybe even tomorrow morning," he said.

South Africa skipper warns team about complacency

IMAGE: The 107-run victory in the first Test in Pretoria on Sunday arrested a run of five successive Test defeats for South Africa. Photograph: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has warned his team against complacency as they take a 1-0 series lead into the second Test against England, from whom he expects a backlash at Newlands on Friday.

The 107-run victory in the first Test in Pretoria on Sunday arrested a run of five successive Test defeats for South Africa but any thoughts that the players might have about being back on course must be dispelled, he said on Thursday

"We haven’t really achieved anything as a Test team; we’ve just won one test match,” Du Plessis told a pre-test press conference.

"There is a lot that still needs to happen for us to go where we want to go as a Test team.

"For me it’s about understanding as a team that the standards need to go up a little bit.

"We were fortunate that we could get away a win in Pretoria but we understand that Test cricket against England is not always going to go our way,” he continued.

"If you take your foot off the gas and complacency creeps in, we’ll go back to playing just ordinary Test cricket.

"This is the message that Bouch (coach Mark Boucher) and I have been trying to drive home over the last days, and we’ll keep driving it.”

Du Plessis confirmed that batsman Temba Bavuma was fit again but would not get back his No. 5 slot in the team as Rassie van der Dussen will be given more opportunity to prove his worth after scoring a 50 on debut last week.

Bavuma’s exclusion means that South Africa are dispensing with their racial quota for team selection where every team should have at least two black Africans and four others from the country’s mixed-race and Indian communities.

South Africa fell short of that target in Pretoria and will do so again in the second Test but Du Plessis looked to downplay a potential controversy.

"We don’t see colour and it’s important that people understand that. Opportunity is very important for any colour and it’s important to be fair to every player to give them a chance.

"Temba will be the first to acknowledge that he got a really good opportunity and that no fingers can be pointed.”

Bavuma, 29, has had no half centuries in his last 12 Test innings with his batting average dipping now to 39.24 in 39 Test matches.

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