Cricket: Wessels' turn to be worried

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KEPLER WESSELS, the South African captain who intends to bat with a right knee injury in the second Test against Australia starting tomorrow in Sydney, is more worried at facing spin than pace.

He coped with the pace men, Craig McDermott and Paul Reiffel, with an unbeaten 63 in the rain-affected draw in Melbourne, but Wessels, 36, is hoping the knee will stand the strain of the second Test. Running between the wickets and fielding are problems enough but it is the leg spinner Shane Warne that weighs most on Wessels, despite an optimism in the South African camp.

Brian McMillan, the all-rounder who has a chance to return for the second Test after knee surgery, summed up the mood. 'A lot of people had written us off on the evidence of a couple of warm-up games. It was just a matter of time until our batters came right and now they've had a good bat, it's going to be pretty interesting,' he said.

Allan Border, the Australian captain, has adopted a tough stance towards Wessels, however, and in Sydney will abandon the traditional agreement that permits substitutes and runners for injured players if Wessels starts the match when unfit.