x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Finger injury puts Gary Ballance's participation in doubt for third England-South Africa cricket Test

England's No 3 batsman was hit on left index finger by Morne Morkel in second innings of Trent Bridge Test.

England batsman Gary Ballance has struggled with the bat in the ongoing Test series against South Africa. Stu Forster / Getty Images
England batsman Gary Ballance has struggled with the bat in the ongoing Test series against South Africa. Stu Forster / Getty Images

Gary Ballance's availability for the third Test at The Oval appears in significant doubt as England determine the extent of his finger injury.

Ballance was hit on the left index finger by Morne Morkel in the second innings of England's defeat against South Africa at Trent Bridge.

He will see a hand surgeon in Leeds on Tuesday evening, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced.

Ballance did not initially think he had broken his finger and, after treatment on the field, was able to resume his innings.

If he is unfit for the third match of four in a series level at 1-1, uncapped batsmen Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan will be among those who could be named when England announce their squad at the end of this week.

Also read:

Paul Radley: England must guard against replay of that 90s show

Ballance's absence would surely dissuade England from making too many changes at the top of the order, despite their difficulties in Nottingham.

Stoneman was being touted as Alastair Cook's 11th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss five years ago, with incumbent Keaton Jennings dropping down to three and Ballance perhaps finding a new home below captain Joe Root at No 5.

Without Ballance, though, it seems more likely England would limit the disruption and perhaps introduce one of Malan or Westley at the vacant No 3.

That could yet spell another chance for all-rounder Liam Dawson, who had appeared the most likely fall guy further down the list.