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Crocked de Kock asked to play through pain

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/03/2017 Angelo Risso

If Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock had broken three fingers, then skipper Faf du Plessis would've perhaps understood him sitting out Saturday's Test decider against New Zealand in Hamilton.

But he hasn't - so du Plessis expects his glovesman to soldier on.

The 24-year-old de Kock is in doubt for the Seddon Park clash with a right index finger injury, after damaging tendons in the second Test in Wellington.

He must prove capable of batting without pain to take to the field against the Black Caps, over whom South Africa holds a 1-0 series lead.

But du Plessis didn't pull his punches on Friday, saying he expected de Kock to play through the pain barrier despite needing at least four weeks to resolve the niggle.

A further aggravation of the problem could also put de Kock's Champions Trophy participation in doubt, with his presence at the top of the Proteas ODI order crucial.

A final decision will be made late on Friday, with second-string keeper Heinrich Klaasen waiting in the wings for his Test debut.

"If it's a 50-50, and I think it is, then he'll be able to play, definitely," du Plessis told reporters.

"It's a big Test match for us - to rest him for someone else is not an option."

Despite a cruisy eight-wicket win in Wellington, the 33-year-old du Plessis berated his upper-order batsmen for sub-par performances to date on Kiwi soil.

Opener Stephen Cook has scored fewer than 15 runs in all four of his innings, while Hashim Amla and JP Duminy have both struggled for consistency.

Yet the Proteas' batting stocks can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge Kiwi speed merchants Trent Boult and Tim Southee will both skip the Test with injury.

"I always take reference to our own team and if we lose guys like them on our side, it'd be a huge loss," du Plessis said.

"Seamers that have the experience and numbers behind them, you don't just replace that."

Having chosen just a single touring tweaker, du Plessis admitted his surprise at the turning Kiwi surfaces he's encountered in Tests so far.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and part-timer Duminy have snared 17 wickets between them on tour, with more of the same in store at Seddon Park.

The typically turning Hamilton wicket has green shoots poking through its surface, suggesting seam-friendly conditions, but du Plessis wasn't so certain.

"We brought a truckload of seamers - I think we had six in our squad," du Plessis said.

"(Yet) the spinners have been the key players in this series.

"I definitely expect it to turn."

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