Hobart - Adam Voges has been passed fit for the second
cricket Test against South Africa, meaning Australia will likely only need to
make two injury-enforced changes to the lineup that lost the series-opener in
Voges strained his hamstring during the first test and
underwent a fitness assessment on Friday, the eve of the second Test at
Hobart's Bellerive Oval, in front of selector Rod Marsh and team medical staff.
The 37-year-old batsman showed he was able to run between wickets and to field
"He's come through his fitness test fine so I think
he'll be good to go," Australia captain Steve Smith said of Voges.
Australia will confirm its line-up on match morning.
All-rounder Mitch Marsh is under pressure to hold his place, while spinner
Nathan Lyon cold lose his spot because of forecast rain in the island state off
the southern coast of the Australian mainland.
"We'll wait until tomorrow and see what's happening
with the weather," Smith said. "You might not need to have that extra
bowling option (which Lyon offers) if there's a lot of rain around.
"There are possibilities we could go in with six
genuine batsmen. We'll wait and see. The forecast isn't great for the next
couple of days so we'll wait until the test to name a team."
Callum Ferguson would likely have made his Test debut if
Voges failed to prove his fitness, and could still do so if Marsh is dropped.
Australia has brushed off concerns that the sudden heavy
workload imposed on its leading fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood
might increase their risk of breaking down. The pair bowled a combined total of
more than 100 overs in Perth.
Starc, especially, came into the first Test with a limited
preparation and there have been fears an increased workload might place him at
a higher risk of injury.
Coach Darren Lehmann has said it is unlikely Starc will be
rested in Hobart but any decision will be made after careful consideration.
"It's about knowing your players, speaking to the
medical staff," Lehmann said. "Also it's what's the wicket going to
do? Is it going to rain? Will it be a flat wicket? We've always said if the
bowler's not 100 per cent fit, he won't play."
Australia has lost already opener Shaun Marsh with a broken
finger and fast bowler Peter Siddle with a back injury, calling up batsman Joe
Burns and paceman Joe Mennie. It finds itself under pressure to save the
three-test series after losing the first test by 177 runs.
South Africa has lost pace spearhead Dale Steyn for the
remainder of the series with a shoulder injury but will still field a
formidable pace attack. Vernon Philander will share the new ball with Kagiso
Rabada, who took 5-92 during Australia's second innings at Perth to bowl South
Africa to victory.
Rabada made superb use of reverse swing to trouble
Australia's batsman in the first Test but there is doubt conditions in Hobart
will allow the ball to reverse.
Opening batsman Dean Elgar said the ability of the South
Africa bowlers to produce reverse swing was a major asset for the tourists.
"For a bowler to be able to bowl with a reversing ball
is a massive skill," Elgar said. "We're fortunate that most, if not
all, of our bowlers can bowl with the reversing ball, which works in our favour
"As it worked out in Perth the ball reversed in both
innings when we were bowling and it proved to be a massive asset for us."