Opener Petersen pulls up injured
ALVIRO Petersen, established as Graeme's Smith's opening partner in the Proteas team, will not play in the warm-up "match" against a Somerset side in Taunton today.
He injured his left foot on a run on Saturday evening and has developed inflammation in a joint.
Management are taking no chances and he will rest until the three-day match against Kent in Canterbury from Friday.
Whizz-kid bowler Marchant de Lange is also feeling the back injury sustained during the T20 series in Zimbabwe, and will also be rested.
Today's match has now turned into a glorified practice, with all available players being rotated to give them some time out in the middle. At least the net session yesterday was out in the open after the rain finally moved away.
"It was good to get into the sunshine," said coach Gary Kirsten after a vigorous workout. "We definitely needed time in the open."
But he acknowledged that his team needed to take every opportunity to prepare for the first test on July 19. "We discussed the schedule, and the guys are confident that this preparation will be enough.
"What we lose in time out in the middle we gain by being fresher. The guys have put a lot of hard work into training and none of them is letting up."
But Kirsten's flexibility came with a proviso. "We have to step up the intensity. We have five days of action and 14 days to prepare, and we must make the most of it. Everyone is pulling together and in a series like this you need a close-knit team to exploit big moments.
"We have two big teams going for a big prize and it will be decided on big moments, and you need to be ready for those moments."
He pronounced himself "really very happy" with his charges. After the disappointments of letting the No1 position slip in the Australia and Sri Lanka series, the team re-evaluated what they needed to do.
"We needed to tweak a few things and step up 10% to take us to the top of the pile and we think we are just about there. I think we are right there in terms of the longer-term process, and this series is a huge stepping stone in that process."
He appreciated the strength of England under Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss, but South Africa have been seeking weaknesses.
"We have done our homework, and I am sure they will have done the same. We are all looking for that one opportunity to exploit."