File photo – Dale Steyn had missed Tests for South Africa last season with shoulder trouble © Gallo Images
Dale Steyn left the field 42 minutes before lunch on the second day at the WACA clutching his right shoulder, which was broken last season and had kept him out of the England Tests. The South Africa fast bowler went down after delivering the fourth ball in his 13th over, after picking up the first wicket of the morning. He remained on his haunches after his followthrough and held his right shoulder while grimacing in pain. Keshav Maharaj and Hashim Amla were the first of his team-mates to arrive at his side before phystioterapist Brandon Jackson walked him off the field. He is currently five wickets away from overtaking Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Tests.
Ten minutes after he went off, Steyn was seen sitting in the South Africa dressing room with heavy strapping on his shoulder.
Steyn returned from the shoulder injury at the World T20 in March, when he played in two of South Africa’s four matches. He was then left out of the Caribbean triangular series in June – officially rested but unofficially dropped – and allowed to play in the NatWest T20 Blast to regain form. He returned for South Africa’s Tests against New Zealand and seemed back to his best with eight wickets in the Centurion win. He also played in four of the five ODIs against Australia and was occasionally seen holding the shoulder but did not need treatment at any stage.
Before this series against Australia, Faf du Plessis stressed the importance of Steyn staying fit for the thee Tests because of his role in leading South Africa’s attack. Steyn missed six of South Africa’s eight Tests last summer – three each against India and England, with a hamstring and shoulder problem respectively.
Without Steyn, South Africa are down to two frontline seamers in this match – Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada – and one specialist spinner in Maharaj. Morne Morkel, who sat out the New Zealand Tests with a back injury, was left out of the XI for this match because of concerns over his match readiness but could be an option for the remaining two matches should Steyn need to sit out. Kyle Abbott is the fifth seamer in the squad.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo