Injury to Smith, Steyn and Harris increases Proteas’ worries

Melbourne, Dec 10: South African captain Graeme Smith has joined strike bowler Dale Steyn and frontline spinner Paul Harris on the sidelines for the tourists' opening match against Western Australia on Thursday.

Smith will miss the one-dayer at the WACA with an elbow injury, coach Mickey Arthur told reporters on Wednesday.

Steyn, who is nursing a minor hamstring strain, and left-arm spinner Harris, who has had a cast removed from his injured left thumb, will also miss the game, the Daily Telegraph reported.

However, all three are expected to play in the two-day match against a WA XI starting on Friday.

Arthur said the injury to Steyn, the leading bowler in Test cricket in 2008 with 60 wickets, was not serious.

"He bowled at 50 per cent yesterday and he''s going to up that to about 80 per cent today. He'll definitely be playing Friday-Saturday," Arthur said.

"(Smith) last week had another cortisone (injection) in his elbow, just to get that right for the tour. So he just needs that to settle down. He''ll be playing on Friday-Saturday and Paul Harris had his cast off yesterday. He''ll also be playing in the two-day game."

"Graeme are Dale are just very, very precautionary. We seem them as major, major, major players for us. So we are not going to risk them in any unnecessary situations. Harro still has to come through but we don''t foresee any problems with him. He has got a week to get himself right really," he added.

World No. 2-ranked South Africa's three-Test series against top-ranked Australia starts in Perth on December 17.

Arthur said his players would use Thursday's game to rehearse for the first Test, although the tourists have told WA coach Tom Moody they may use 12 players. (ANI)