London: Paceman Jake Ball piled on the problems for England's bowling attack on Thursday when he was ruled out of the first Test with South Africa because of a knee strain.
The 26-year-old suffered the injury playing for Nottinghamshire in the County Championship this week and joins fellow seamers Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes on the sidelines ahead of next week's first Test against the Proteas.
Ball's injury is also a huge blow to his county's hopes of beating Surrey in Saturday's One-Day Cup final at Lord's. "He went for a scan yesterday (Wednesday) to assess the damage and was unable to take to the field when the third day of the day-night match resumed after a rain delay," read a Nottinghamshire statement.
"Ball is set to miss the next two weeks of action, which will also rule him out of the reckoning for the start of the Test series against South Africa, which starts on 6 July at Lord's."
Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores said it was doubly disappointing for Ball, who missed the 2013 One-Day Cup final as well. "Jake is naturally very, very disappointed to miss out on the final, having previously been made available to play by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), particularly after missing out on selection when Notts beat Glamorgan at Lord’s in 2013," said Moores.
"He's given his all in this competition when he's been available to us, and we'll miss him for what will be a really tough game against Surrey. Jake is a very strong character and I'm sure he'll bounce back from this. I know he'll be wanting us to beat Surrey as much as anybody."