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Astle to play in the second Test against South Africa

Written by: Staff
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Christchurch, Apr 25 (UNI) The injury-plagued New Zealand team today got a boost in their bid to level the series against the Proteas as star batsman Nathan Astle confirmed that his right knee injury was not serious enough for him to miss the second Test, which starts on Thursday at Newlands, Cape Town.

''It's just niggly. I've had an x-ray, there's a couple of little bone spurs but there's nothing they can do about it.

It's good enough to play on,'' Astle told New Zealand Press Association.

Astle, who made just 4 and 2 in New Zealand's 128-run defeat in the first Test, was also optimistic about his team's chances of bouncing back in the series.

''I think we're going to have three result-orientated wickets, the series is still alive,'' Astle said.

Meanwhile, tearaway bowler Shane Bond, who missed the first Test due to a knee injury, and James Franklin, the third player battling knee problems, had light practice sessions at Newlands yesterday. But, the team management said they would take a final decision on both the players only on the eve of the match.

Apart from Bond and Franklin, there are also concerns over the fitness of Hamish Marshall, who still hasn't recovered from a blow to the ribs from Makhaya Ntini.

UNI XC PDS PM BST1746

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