Kallis leaves hosts in need of quick fix

South Africa pick 15 men in Test squad as they struggle to replace star all-rounder

South Africa made it clear yesterday that they would prefer to field 12 men against England when the Test series begins. The probable absence of their star all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, has thrown their strategy into confusion which they show no immediate signs of resolving, except by picking more players.

Already behind in the one-day series and needing a win to finish level at 2-2 tomorrow, they named an enlarged squad of 15 yesterday, which includes four uncapped players, for the first Test in a fortnight. The reason was simple: without the man known as "Jakes", they do not quite know what to do or who to do it with. A team that would have taken five minutes to pick, in the words of coach Mickey Arthur, may now take head-scratching hours.

Mike Procter, South Africa's chairman of selectors, made no attempt to conceal the worth of a player who has scored 10,277 runs and taken 258 wickets. "Jacques Kallis is obviously a very big number in our Test side and providing cover for him requires more than one player," he said.

But one player will have to do, of course, when the final XI is concluded and it is this delicate balance that has created uncertainty with potential to affect the whole team. Without Kallis in the role of No 3 batsman, the blue riband position, and an effective fourth seamer, the selectors have a conundrum.

They can either pick four bowlers, six batsmen and a wicketkeeper, or opt for five of each plus the keeper, putting more pressure on Mark Boucher, or play a lesser all-rounder in Ryan McLaren who would be making his Test debut. "We have been looking at all-rounders for a month," said Arthur, doubtless discovering that there is only one Kallis. The six batsmen look the likeliest solution because they would be more likely to leave the first Test at Centurion with a draw and then regroup with their all-rounder back.

Kallis is out with a broken rib. He first felt soreness in the Twenty20 Champions League but tried to play through the injury before being finally ruled on the eve of this one-day series. Although South Africa have not officially given up hope of his inclusion in the first Test starting in a fortnight they will take no risk whatever on his fitness. They are clearly desperate that he plays in the rest of the series.

South Africa, Kallis and all, are preparing for the four-Test series with a training camp in the isolated university town of Potchefstroom. They have chosen to get away from it all after their preparations for the series against Australia last year were disrupted in Johannesburg.

Having returned from Australia with a 2-1 series win they were feted everywhere they went and failed to concentrate properly on the re-match. The upshot was a 2-1 series loss. Arthur said: "Everybody wanted a piece of the side." He is determined to avoid distractions this time.

All this is good news for England who continue to be extremely perky. They have a squad with a virtually clean bill of health and they are 2-1 ahead in a series they were confidently predicted to lose.

Winning the Ashes may have helped but with each day that passes there is reason to believe a new philosophy permeates these tourists. A side that is winning might always suggest this but as the wicketkeeper Matt Prior said yesterday a change had been instigated by the men at the top, coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss.

"Ever since the two Andys have taken over we've had to become very honest, honest with ourselves, with our team-mates, in the dressing room," he said. "If you can't be honest with your team-mates then you're struggling.

"I think that's the first thing we did, and did it very well, was say 'we are actually seventh in the world in one-day cricket' and that's black and white. Until you accept that instead of saying 'well we're seventh but we're actually better than that and we've just been a bit unlucky' then you don't move forward. We have now done that, accepted and are able to build from there. That's how we run it as the whole team." Tomorrow will tell how far they have come.

First Test: South Africa squad

South Africa squad to face England in the first Test, Wednesday 16 to Sunday 20 December, at Centurion: G C Smith (captain), H M Amla, M V Boucher (wkt), A B de Villiers, F de Wet, J P Duminy, P L Harris, J H Kallis, R McLaren, M Morkel, M Ntini, W D Parnell, A N Petersen, A G Prince, D W Steyn.

TV: Sky Sports 1/2, HD1/HD2

Dilshan century gives Sri Lanka the edge in final Test

Tillakaratne Dilshan scored a century as Sri Lanka gained a slender edge on the first day of the third and final Test against India in Mumbai.

Dilshan's 109 was the centrepiece in a scorecard which also featured half-centuries from fellow opener Tharanga Paranavitana (53) and Angelo Mathews (86 not out) as the visitors, chasing a series-levelling win, closed on 366 for 8.

Harbhajan Singh, who found turn throughout, had threatened to wreck Sri Lanka's day, but the off-spinner had to be satisfied with four wickets. Dilshan traded his pyrotechnics for a more conservative approach early on and, having crossed the milestone of 1000 runs in a calendar year, fell to a poor decision, with Harbhajan the lucky bowler.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent