While South Africa is awaiting over ICC result on Kagiso Rabada's appeal against the ban handed on him, Australia is sweating over lead pacer Mitchell Starc's injury. Starc is suffereing from a calf injury.
Starc's injury trouble is of particular concern ahead of Thursday's crucial clash given that he has had close to a week to recover since South Africa clinched the second Test in Port Elizabeth. The left-armer will now need to prove his fitness by bowling in Australia's training session on Tuesday.
"Sometimes the bowlers just work their way into the games a little bit differently. His preparation might be a little bit different going into this game," opening batsman Cameron Bancroft said of Starc. "I think in the past, he's bowled a couple of days out (from the Test) and had that third day as a bit of a rest day. Hopefully, he'll bowl (on Tuesday), I'm sure he'll be ok."
"The four days off have been good for everyone, especially our bowlers, they have done a lot of work in the last six months," Bancroft told reporters on Monday.
Meanwhile, Australian all-rounder, Mitchell Marsh looked in good shape during practice and seems to be recovering well from his groin injury. Marsh finished the second Test as an injury concern but appears to be on the road to recovery after the mid-series break.
"He's had four really important days off as it has been for everyone, especially our fast bowlers who've spent a lot of time bowling over the past six months for us," said Bancroft. "Mitch has been working through his stuff and had a bowl. I assume he'll pick that up leading up to the game on Thursday and I'm sure he'll be fine."
"His absence would be a big blow for Australia, given that he has been the only bowler to run through the South African in the first half of the series, with his nine-wicket haul setting up a victory in the first Test in Durban. Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, the other two parts of Australia's pace trio, have not been as successful with both averaging more than 30 runs per wicket. Nevertheless, Bancroft can see signs of improvement."
"They bowled really well, they're first-class campaigners and the beauty of being part of this team is you get opportunities to face in the nets a lot some of the best bowlers in the world and we have them," Bancroft said of Cummins and Hazlewood
Meanwhile, reserve seamers Jhye Richardson and Chadd Sayers are waiting in the wings should Starc fail to recover in time.