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Australia's Adam Voges fit for 2nd test vs South Africa

Associated Press Associated Press 11/11/2016
South Africa's cricket team celebrate defeating Australia on the fifth day of play during their cricket test match in Perth, Australia, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. South Africa lead Australia 1-0 heading towards the Hobart test.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith) © The Associated Press South Africa's cricket team celebrate defeating Australia on the fifth day of play during their cricket test match in Perth, Australia, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. South Africa lead Australia 1-0 heading towards the Hobart test.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

HOBART, Australia — 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 Perth.

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 without difficulty.

"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 lineup on match morning. Allrounder Mitch Marsh is under pressure to hold his place, while spinner Nathan Lyon could 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. 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 already lost 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.

Captain Faf du Plessis said South Africa was also considering taking an all-pace attack into the match and the decision on whether to include spinner Keshav Maharaj would be based on weather conditions.

Maharaj made an impressive debut in the first test, dismissing Australia captain Steve Smith with a contentious lbw decision in his first over, but the possibility of rain might cause the tourists to opt for pace.

"If it becomes a really shortened game ... that's something we will look at," du Plessis said. "It looks like there's going to be a little bit of rain tomorrow, so if it rains for the whole day it becomes a four-day game. The pitch is going to be under covers, the ball is going to be wet."

Du Plessis said either Morne Morkel or Kyle Abbott could replace Steyn, but that decision has yet to be made.

"We'd like to see the conditions," he said. Australia is "in the same boat as us. You just want to make sure you pick the strongest team for the conditions."

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