Gary Ballance could be dropped or left out of the England team due to injury
The Yorkshire batsman was dropped for the recent series in India but was then recalled to the side for the first Test against South Africa at Lord’s.
The home side triumphed on Joe Root’s debut as Test captain but Ballance made just 54 runs across the two innings.
At Trent Bridge, the struggling No3 – who is the leading English batsman in county cricket – made just 27 and 4, leaving his place vulnerable for the third Test at the Oval in nine days’ time.
However, it appears that decision could be taken out of the hands of the selectors by injury.
Gary Ballance received treatment on his injury hand during the innings
Morne Morkel rapped Ballance on the hand during the second innings, after which the 27-year-old did not score another run, man of the match Vernon Philander dismissing him LBW soon after.
Ballance will now have an X-ray on the injured hand to determine the extent of any damage, with a break surely ruling him out of the rest of the series.
But captain Root admitted the side would be under the microscope ahead of the next game, although he appeared keen to back his struggling batters.
“No, I don’t think it [the top three] is a concern. They just need some runs and to spend some time out in the middle,” said Root.
“I’m sure if they get the opportunity to do that in the next game they will go on and make big scores.
“We’ll sit down with selection and make sure we’re happy with what we have going into the next one.”
Fast bowler Mark Wood, who missed much of the 2016 England season through injury, is also a doubt for the Oval with a heel problem.
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“It’s been a tough week for Woody, really,” Root added.
“He worked really hard throughout the game and was unfortunate not to pick up many wickets but I can’t fault his efforts, the way he’s gone about it.
“In terms of fitness he came through quite well, so hopefully he’s fit for selection for the next one.”