Proteas

SA's walking wounded ready

Graeme Smith (AFP)
Graeme Smith (AFP)

Cape Town - South Africa's alarming injury list has finally eased with the Proteas confident of fielding a full-strength side against Australia in the first Test starting in Centurion on February 12.

Since the home series against India, six members including captain Graeme Smith, vice-captain AB de Villiers and all three frontline bowlers, have battled with injuries but team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said they were winning the fitness battle.

De Villiers's hand injury was perhaps the most concerning due to his twin roles as a frontline batsman and wicketkeeper that gives the side the option of playing an extra bowler.

"AB de Villiers says he is feeling good, his left hand has healed relatively well, the physios have been working on him and they have reported he has got a full range of movement and good strength," Moosajee told reporters.

"Graeme Smith's left ankle impingement which flared up has settled over the past few days and he is hard at working on his fitness."

Pace spearhead Dale Steyn, who had a minor rib fracture, was "almost symptom-free" after four weeks' rest followed by a rehab programme over the last 10 days, Moosajee said.

"He started bowling again this week and we are confident he will be up to full intensity by next week."

Morné Morkel had fully recovered from a left ankle sprain and fellow paceman Vernon Philander was also over his lower back stiffness, the manager said.

"Faf du Plessis sustained a right shoulder rotator cuff strain, but he has responded well to the process of rehabilitation and has been playing and practising unhindered.

"I am happy to say that we have a squad that is fully fit and available for selection," Moosajee added.

The Australian Test side arrived in South Africa on Wednesday for a three-match series to be followed by three Twenty20 internationals.

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