NAGPUR, India (Reuters) – South African spearhead Dale Steyn is struggling to be fit in time for the third test against India in what would be a big blow to the tourist’s chances of levelling the series.
The world’s top ranked bowler in tests, Steyn missed the washed-out second test in Bangalore and is still working his way back from a groin injury ahead of the third match, starting on Wednesday.
“Dale Steyn won’t probably play in this test match, I don’t think his injury has recovered fully,” South Africa captain Hashim Amla told reporters on Tuesday.
“Not having Dale in the team is a setback because not having the best bowler in the world is never a nice thing.
“But we’ve got to deal with it and we’ve got some good reserves. Hopefully, the guys who play will get a chance to stand out.”
The last time South Africa played India in a test at the VCA Stadium in 2010, the tourists won by an innings with Steyn capturing 10 wickets in the match.
Amla also contributed heavily in that match, scoring a double century, but the 32-year-old has struggled for form on the current tour.
“I definitely would have liked to have got more runs in the one-dayers and tests so far,” Amla said. “Hopefully, the runs are still to come.
“We’ve got two big test matches to deal with.”
India captain Virat Kohli said Steyn’s absence would not make any difference to the way the hosts approached the match but he said they wanted to keep the pressure on Amla.
“The opposition will obviously look to target the captain because he is the one sort of making strategies,” Kohli said.
“The opposition finds it very important for him to be not comfortable when he is batting out there especially if he is a batter. That is what I have experienced in the past as well.”
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Julian Linden)