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24-Mar-2017 09:15:00 GMT
New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd Test, Hamilton

New Zealand face South Africa without Key Players

Hamilton: Quinton de Kock was cleared to play in the third Test against New Zealand, with Faf du Plessis stressing the need to have the influential wicketkeeper-batsman as part of the playing XI.

The lead-up the the third and final match has seen both teams hit by injuries, but while de Kock will be available for South Africa, New Zealand will miss the services of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor in the Seddon Park match that begins on Saturday.

De Kock has ligament damage in his right index finger, but was given the all-clear after wearing protective covering to dull the pain during a batting and fielding practice.

New Zealand is facing a must-win situation, having gone 1-0 down in the series. It will miss both Boult and Southee.

Boult didn't recover sufficiently from a groin injury that affected him in the drawn first Test in Dunedin and was ruled out on Friday, with Scott Kuggeleijn, the uncapped Northern Districts all-rounder, called in as cover. Southee was ruled out as soon as his hamstring tear was confirmed, though no replacement was named.

With Lockie Ferguson, who would have otherwise been the first-choice bowling backup also injured, New Zealand turned to Kuggeleijn.

Taylor continues to be hampered by the calf tear that kept him out of the second Test.

The injuries added to the dark clouds hovering near Hamilton, with the forecast being for showers throughout the five days of the Test

Central to du Plessis's drive to field his strongest side is that another victory over New Zealand will lift South Africa to No.2 in the world in the ICC's Test rankings, completing a remarkable turnaround since being ranked as low as seventh 12 months ago.

Despite South Africa having an unbeatable 1-0 lead though, du Plessis wanted more from his batsmen.

Teams from:

New Zealand:
Kane Williamson (capt), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Neil Broom, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Jeetan Patel, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Scott Kuggeleijn.

South Africa: Stephen Cook, Quinton de Kock (wk), Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Heinrich Klaasen

Stats and trivia

  • Hashim Amla needs 117 runs to completes 8000 Test runs
  • Morne Morkel is one wicket away from 250 Test wickets.

Match facts
March 25-29, 2017
Start time 1100 local (2200 GMT -1d)

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