Cricket

South Africa's Quinton de Kock will return for the fourth Test after injuring his knee while walking his dogs.

South Africa's Quinton de Kock back for fourth Test after dog-walking injury

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South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock has passed a fitness test and will return for Friday's fourth Test against England.

De Kock missed the decisive third Test in Johannesburg, where a stunning seven-wicket win saw the tourists claim the series with a game to spare.

He injured his knee on the eve of the match while walking his dogs, leaving Dane Vilas to fly from Port Elizabeth to the Wanderers on the first morning.

No such dramas are expected this time, after De Kock came through a check-up at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

As a result, Vilas is no longer required as a potential back-up and has been cleared to play in the next round of first-class fixtures alongside seamer Hardus Viljoen and batsman Rilee Rossouw.

Viljoen made his debut in the previous match but, despite dismissing England captain Alastair Cook with his first ball in Test cricket, did not look threatening enough for large periods and finished with match figures of one for 94.

His place will go to either fellow seamer Kyle Abbott or spinner Dane Piedt, dropped last week on a seam-friendly surface.

Rossouw, meanwhile, has been called up for each Test only to go unused.

He has been leapfrogged by uncapped opener Stephen Cook, who will replace Stiaan van Zyl at the top of the innings, while Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy do battle over one middle-order slot.

Seam bowler Dale Steyn had already been ruled out of the final Test, despite attempts to accelerate his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury in a hyperbaric chamber.

Steyn has now missed three out of four matches during this series and five of South Africa's last seven Tests.

That has led to speculation that the outstanding fast bowler of his generation, at the age of 32, is on the wane and may even consider full or partial retirement from Tests.

But where AB de Villiers admitted last week that he is seeking ways of easing his workload, Steyn moved to emphatically deny such suggestions.

"It's absolute rubbish," he told SuperSport.com.

"I played 48 Tests in a row, didn't miss a single one, and now suddenly I'm an injury liability at the age of 32? It's ridiculous.

"Injuries can happen to anybody but I'm still one of the fittest players in the squad and I have many, many overs left in me.

"The Test team is going through some huge changes and I want to help lead the way as one of the senior players.

"This is no time to turn your back and walk away, that's the last thing on my mind. I have many ambitions left in the game and I'm as excited about playing international cricket now as I was when I started over a decade ago.

"I would like to play all three formats. I'd love to be involved in the ODI series against England but I'm not going to rush back from injury, like I did in India, and make it worse."

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