KEPLER WESSELS, the South African captain, battled in pain with a broken finger yesterday as he tried to save his side in the second Test against Australia in Sydney.
When his job is done, Wessels will go home, missing the last of the three Tests. He damaged the little finger of his left hand attempting a catch in the slips on Monday.
Wessels was put on an anti-infection drip in hospital for 15 minutes yesterday and took pain-killers before taking the field in his side's second innings.
The South Africans are struggling, their first innings of 169 answered with a total of 292 by Australia, who were all out just after lunch on the third day.
At the close, South Africa were 94 for 2, with Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten, who made 41, the men out.
The 36-year-old Wessels, who also has chronic knee trouble, was unbeaten on seven while Hansie Cronje, the acting captain, was still there on 37.
'I aim to bat as long as I can stay out there,' said Wessels, who will be leaving for South Africa at the weekend to allow his finger time to heal. He will then be ready for the three Tests to be played against Australia in the Republic beginning in March.
The South African team manager, Robbie Muzzell, said that Peter Kirsten, a spin-bowling all- rounder, was being sent out as a replacement immediately. In an injury-affected match, Allan Border, the Australian captain, needed stitches in a cut above the left eye after being struck by the ball when he was batting on Monday.
South Africa lost Hudson just a dozen minutes into their second innings on a dry wicket, which was beginning to break up badly. Cronje and Gary Kirsten had pushed the score to 75 when Kirsten padded a ball from Craig McDermott on to his stumps.
Australia, 200 for 5 overnight, achieved their total at the slow rate of just over two runs an over. The fast bowlers Fanie de Villiers and Allan Donald each took four wickets, while Australia's top scorer was the opener Michael Slater with 92.
(Third day: South Africa won toss)
SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 169 (G Kirsten 67; S K Warne 7-56).
AUSTRALIA - First Innings
(Overnight: 200 for 5)
D Martyn c Richardson b de Villiers 59
I A Healy c Richardson b Donald 19
S K Warne c Rhodes b Symcox 11
C J McDermott c Cronje b de Villiers 6
T B A May not out 8
G D McGrath b Donald 9
Extras (b1 lb2 nb3) 6
Fall (cont): 6-229 7-250 8-266 9-281.
Bowling: Donald 31.2-8-83-4 (nb1); de Villiers 36-12-80-4; C Matthews 28-11-44-0 (nb1); P Symcox 46-11-82-2 (nb-1).
SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings
A C Hudson c Healy b McDermott 1
G Kirsten b McDermott 41
H J Cronje not out 37
*K C Wessels not out 7
Extras (b5 lb1 nb2) 8
Total (for 2) 94
Fall: 1-2 2-75.
To bat: D J Cullinan, J N Rhodes, D J Richardson, P L Symcox, C R Matthews, P S de Villiers, A A Donald.Reuse content