Ben Stokes said that he is "devastated" for Jonny Bairstow, but his injury presents an opportunity for Harry Brook; Dean Elgar welcomed the debutant to the "big league" - Watch the third Test at The Oval live on Sky Sports from 10am on Thursday.
Thursday 8 September 2022 10:13, UK
Ben Stokes has compared Jonny Bairstow's "unfortunate" golf accident to Glenn McGrath's freak injury before the second Ashes Test in 2005.
Bairstow has been replaced by fellow Yorkshireman Harry Brook for the final Test against South Africa at the Oval, after he suffered a "lower limb injury" in an accident while playing golf in Leeds on Friday.
Speaking ahead of the decisive third Test, captain Stokes said it was a "freak" accident, comparing it to McGrath stepping on a stray ball in the pre-match warm-up at Edgbaston in 2005.
"I was devastated for Jonny, with the summer that he has had being one of the main reasons we have had such a successful summer. To finish off like that, obviously with the World Cup coming up as well, just absolutely gutted for him," he said.
"He should obviously hold his head high, he is obviously going to be disappointed with the injury and how long he is going to be out, but he should take a lot of pride and be proud of what he has done in this England team.
"It's freak accident - sort of Glenn McGrath stepping on the ball moment for us."
Stokes added that he is "excited" for Brook to come in and the batter is someone who could play for England in all three formats "for a long time".
Brook replacing Bairstow is the only change, with the series currently level going into the decider.
With rain forecast for large parts of the match, Stokes reiterated that his side will push for a win but expects South Africa to come out firing.
"It's not very sensible to look at the weather too much, but I know it's not great. If we do have a bit of a rain-affected game, it'll be interesting to see what goes on there, because we will be trying whatever we can to inflict the win - as I said we don't play for draws.
"South Africa are always going to stay in the game and in the moment. We put the Lord's defeat behind us and concentrated on Manchester, I know that Dean and the South Africa team will be doing the same thing here."
South Africa's captain Dean Elgar issued a warning to debutant Brook, who scored 140 runs during a crushing win for the England Lions against South Africa in a tour match last month at Canterbury.
Elgar said there is no doubt that Brook is a "good player" but warned Test cricket "will humble you as a player", adding "this is the big league now".
"He got a few runs against us but, again, this is Test cricket, and we've got our fast bowlers now who didn't bowl against him in Kent, so I'm not reading too much into that," Elgar said.
South Africa will be hoping to respond after a crushing three-day defeat at Old Trafford.
Ryan Rickelton is likely to replace the injured Rassie Van Der Dussen, while Elgar hinted there may be a "few extra changes".
"I think it's the biggest Test so far in my captaincy period," he said.
"I've never experienced a Test (series) win against England from playing for 10 years, which would be an unreal feeling personally but massive for the younger guys in our changing room.
"It's not make-or-break, but it's kind of big going forward for us from a confidence point of view.
"There's definitely going to be a winner in this Test, no doubt. The styles of cricket that we've been playing, there's definitely going to be a result.
"It's pretty much like a World Cup final for us, that's the way I'm viewing it."
Alex Lees (Durham), Zak Crawley (Kent), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Harry Brook (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham, captain), Ben Foakes (Surrey, wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Jimmy Anderson (Lancashire).
Watch the Third LV= Insurance Test between England and South Africa, from the Kia Oval, live on Sky Sports Cricket on Thursday. Build-up starts at 10.30am ahead the first ball at 11am.