PERTH - there was news of contrasting kinds coming out of the Proteas' 50-over practice match against Western Australia here yesterday.
On the positive front Jacques Kallis appears to be playing himself into some kind of form after a wretched run.
He and Hashim Amla put on an unbroken third wicket stand of 144 in the pre-lunch session, of which he scored a slightly laboured 52 not out, the Proteas finishing on 185 for two in their allotted overs, to which the home team, batting out their full 50, replied with 215 for four.
If he wasn't always fluency personified, Kallis ground out an innings against a decent attack, seemingly content to let Amla blaze a hot trail at the other end.
Kallis used up 116 balls, while Amla, who went to a deserved 105 not out off an audacious dab , took only 118. Amla's was an elegantly fluid innings, full of drives through the covers and zesty flicks off his legs; Kallis' was made of stodgier stuff, though he did play a couple of brisk lofted drives for six and one delightful late cut off Ben Edmondson as he approached 50 .
So much for the good news. The bad news happened just as Morne Morkel was about to deliver his first ball from the Lillee-Marsh end. In his delivery stride the big man keeled over, wrenching his right ankle in the process.
He was taken from the field immediately with a suspected sprain, Makhaya Ntini completing the over.
"It's early to make a complete diagnosis," said Michael Owen-Smith, the Proteas' media liaison man. "We'll make a call in the morning."
There was a hint that Morkel's boot spikes could have been longer. The up note of all of this is that Monde Zondeki came on for a bowl and Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ntini had long spells in the afternoon sun as the match petered into a stalemate.
Tsotsobe was the first bowler to strike after changing ends, having Liam Davis caught low down by Mark Boucher for 27.
He was in the action minutes later when he caught Marsh for 26 on the fine leg fence off Zondeki.