Dale Steyn was ruled out of the three-match series after sustaining a fracture on his right shoulder. © Getty Images

Dale Steyn was ruled out of the three-match series after sustaining a fracture on his right shoulder. © Getty Images

South Africa suffered a massive blow during their ongoing opening Test against Australia at the WACA ground, with Dale Steyn, the pace spearhead, ruled out of the three-match series after sustaining a fracture on his right shoulder. No decision has been taken on whether South Africa will call up a replacement yet.

Steyn had bowled well without much reward until he got the dangerous David Warner caught in the slips for 97 in his 12th over, but he had to leave the field in his very next over – the 38th of the innings – clutching his shoulder in pain with Keshav Maharaj, the debutant left-arm spinner, completing the over.

Steyn then left to get a scan, where the extent of the injury was confirmed. “Dale pulled up while bowling shortly before lunch complaining of severe pain to his right shoulder,” said Dr Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa’s team manager, adding that there was a high chance Steyn would require surgery and he would bat in this Test only if ‘absolutely necessary’.

“He was taken to the hospital for preliminary scans which confirmed a new fracture of the bone in the shoulder joint. He will take no further part in the match (he will bat if absolutely necessary) and the series, and will return to South Africa to see a shoulder specialist who will advise on an appropriate plan of action. An injury of this nature is rare and will in all likelihood require surgery but that will only be confirmed once we receive an opinion from the specialist.”

This is the second time in the past year that Steyn has broken his shoulder, having missed a large part of their home series against England in December-January. Previously, during South Africa’s tour of India too, Steyn has played only in the first Test in Mohali, missing the rest through injury.

Steyn, 33, has 417 wickets so far and is just five shy of overtaking Shaun Pollock’s tally of 421 scalps to become South Africa’s highest-ever wicket-taker.