Under-fire England batsman Gary Ballance has been ruled out of next week’s third Investec Test against South Africa after fracturing his left index finger.
Ballance was struck on the hand by a Morne Morkel bouncer during the second innings of England’s 340-run annihilation by the Proteas at Trent Bridge, which came to a premature conclusion on Monday.
The 27-year-old will be monitored by England’s medical staff with a view to him returning to full fitness for the final Test of the fourth-match series at Old Trafford next month.
Ballance’s place in the team was under scrutiny in any case following an inauspicious start to his latest international comeback; he scored 20 and 34 during England’s win at Lord’s before notching 27 and four at Trent Bridge.
The likes of Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan, who are all uncapped at Test level, are potential candidates to replace Ballance, who averages more than 100 for Yorkshire in this season’s County Championship.
The series with South Africa is currently locked at 1-1. The third Test starts on 27 July.