The third test between New Zealand and South Africa at Seddon Park tomorrow could become the match of the men who were not there.
Fast bowler Tim Southee is the latest withdrawal‚ having been ruled out with a torn hamstring.
Southee joins batsman Ross Taylor‚ who was removed from the equation for the series after tearing a calf in the first test in Dunedin.
The Kiwi invalids could be joined by left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult‚ who missed the second test with a vaguely described upper leg injury and has yet to be passed fit.
Not that the South Africans do not have their problems.
Quinton de Kock injured a tendon in his right index finger in Wellington and will need to play with specially moulded padding, or not at all.
Should he be ruled out, and the prospects of that happening seemed more probable than possible yesterday, Heinrich Klaasen will make his debut.
“We had an X-ray done to exclude a fracture‚ and thankfully that was clear‚” South Africa’s team manager‚ Mohammed Moosajee‚ said.
“He still complained of pain and discomfort so we had a scan done which revealed tendon damage to the last digit of the index finger.
“We will make a late call on his availability after he undergoes a fitness test with protective strapping to see if he will be able to bat or keep wicket.
“Either way‚ he is going to need a protracted period of recovery.”
That will hit the headlines in India‚ where De Kock is expected to report for duty with the Delhi Daredevils early next month.
“There is every likelihood of him missing out on the IPL [Indian Premier League] because of the expected recovery time‚” Moosajee said.
“If he doesn’t have four to six weeks’ recovery time, further activity could aggravate the injury and could even jeopardise his participation in the Champions Trophy [in England in June] and the full tour to England.”