Steyn ruled out of Edgbaston Test and major doubt for Oval

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The Independent Online

The South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn, who has a broken left thumb, will miss the third Test and is doubtful for the fourth against England. Steyn sustained the injury while fielding a ball that was driven back to him off his own bowling during the second Test at Headingley on Monday. The injury was only X-rayed on Thursday.

"Dale has sustained a fracture on the base of his left thumb and will see an orthopaedic surgeon to have a cast put on and it will be on for between two and three weeks, then we will take another X-ray and take a decision from there," the team manager Mohammed Moosajee said yesterday at Worcester, where South Africa were playing Bangladesh A in a three-day match.

"If it doesn't heal in time, he may miss the fourth Test [at The Oval, starting on 7 August], but we are giving ourselves a window for him to be re-assessed in two weeks. The risk for Edgbaston was that if he played he might have done further damage and then needed surgery."

Andre Nel or Monde Zondeki will come in for Steyn, who claimed seven wickets in the second Test. The coach Mickey Arthur said he was confident that the strength in depth in the squad would allow South Africa to replace Steyn. "Missing a player of Dale's calibre is a huge blow," Arthur said, "but I feel we have such good depth with the likes of Andre Nel and Monde."

The spinner Paul Harris was cleared to play in the match at Worcester after he had an X-ray on an elbow injury after slipping in the bathroom in his hotel. He suffered minor ligament damage but not enough to prevent him bowling.

The third Test starts at Edgbaston on Wednesday.