DURBAN, (Reuters) – South African fast bowler Dale Steyn will not bowl again in the opening test against England at Kingsmead after his shoulder spasm failed to clear up overnight, officials said yesterday.
The decision is a further blow to the home side, who have their backs to the wall as they seek to avoid defeat in the first of the four-test series.
Steyn bowled just under four overs in England’s second innings on Monday and although a scan on his right shoulder revealed no tear, he was ruled out after experiencing discomfort before the start of the fourth day’s play.
Steyn had twice left the field at Kingsmead in mid-over in obvious pain on Monday as England built a potentially match-wining lead.
“Dale experienced some discomfort in his right shoulder after the first day’s play and lot was probably because of the long layoff he’s had, coupled with the fact there was a great bowling load on him on the first day,” explained team manager Mohammed Moosajee.
“We took him for a precautionary scan, which was inconclusive. There were no tears to any muscles, tendons or ligaments.”
The world’s top-ranked test bowler, only just back after a groin injury which kept him out of three tests in India last month, clasped his shoulder on his follow-through after two balls of his fourth over in England’s second innings and was sent off the field by his captain Hashim Amla for treatment.
He came back out 50 minutes later and was brought on to bowl again but managed just three balls before departing the arena, throwing an object to the ground in obvious frustration as he walked to the dressing-room.
After his scan during the afternoon session, he returned to field until the close of play, limiting his time off the pitch in case he was passed fit to bowl yesterday, which did not happen.
The absence of Steyn, who took four wickets in the first innings, was keenly felt as England built up a 261-run lead over South Africa overnight and took a firm grip on the test match.