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Steyn ruled out of third test

A shoulder injury has not healed in time for the third game starting on Thursday.

Dale Steyn. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Fast bowler Dale Steyn has been ruled out of this week's third test against England in a major blow to South Africa's bid to get back into the four-match series.

The shoulder injury which restricted his bowling in the first test and forced him out the second has not healed in time for the third game starting at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday, Cricket South Africa said on Monday.

A spasm meant the 32-year-old Steyn was able to bowl only 22 balls in the second innings of the first test in Durban which England won by 241 runs.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo says Steyn's injury is a major blow to the team but it doesn't rule him out of national duty forever.

"I don't think it's the end of Steyn's career at all. All players are going to experience niggles at some stage. He's a great athlete, he's as fit as they come, he's just going through a phase at the moment."

The second test at Newlands was drawn last week.

South Africa had been hoping Steyn, the world's top-ranked test bowler, would return to spearhead a four-man seam attack in the high altitude conditions of Johannesburg as they seek to preserve their position at the top of the test rankings.