Gary Ballance has been ruled out of the third Test against the Proteas after breaking his finger in the 340-run defeat at Trent Bridge.
Scans revealed a break after a Morne Morkel delivery rapped the No 3 on the gloves during England’s second innings on day four. He will thus miss The Oval encounter, but should be in contention for the fourth and final Test at Old Trafford.
Ballance has struggled for runs during the South Africa series, averaging 21.25 in four innings. England coach Trevor Bayliss has said Surrey’s Mark Stoneman and Essex’s Tom Westley are the front-runners to replace Ballance.
‘The last selection meeting we had before this series started, players like Stoneman and Westley were spoken about at length. Obviously, Haseeb Hameed, too, but he is a little out of form this year. So those guys, they are on the edge,’ Bayliss told ESPN Cricinfo.
The third Test begins at The Oval on 27 July.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images