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Mitchell Marsh picks up groin injury and fine for swearing

Port Elizabeth: Mitchell Marsh has sustained a groin strain and is no certainty to take his place in the Australian side when series against South Africa resumes in Cape Town next Thursday.

It was an eventful day for the wrong reasons for the Australian all-rounder on Monday as the tourists were beaten by six wickets in the second Test and the Proteas drew level in the series.

Marsh was fined 20 per cent of his match fee for swearing at Kagiso Rabada, the man of the match, after the South African fast bowler dismissed him. He also picked up an injury.

Australian captain Steve Smith is hopeful the 10-day break until the third Test will allow Marsh to recover in time to feature at Newlands. However, the Australians will consider flying an all-rounder in to join the squad cover, with Marcus Stoinis the leading candidate.

"It's a good break now between now and the next Test match and he's telling me he'll be fine but we'll wait and see how things go," Smith said.

Peter Handscomb is already in the country as a reserve batsman but Australia may feel they need to retain a fourth seam-bowling option in their line-up should Marsh not be fit.

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Marsh's injury had prompted him to be shifted by Smith to first slip briefly on Monday, replacing his brother Shaun, who is usually positioned there. That didn't go to plan when the younger sibling put down a regulation catch in a blow to Australia's very slim hopes of stopping South Africa reaching a fourth-innings target of 101.

"He's got a bit of a groin strain so he was struggling to move a little bit," Smith said.

"I was told at the break that he can actually run, so unfortunately he could have been out on the field when he was in the slips. He still should have taken that catch but everyone drops it every now and again. I've been pretty guilty myself in recent times. It's just one of those things and we'll move on."

Smith admitted Australia had fallen short of the mark with the bat at St George's Park. The captain himself has been below his best and while AB de Villiers scored South Africa's second century of the series, joining Aiden Markram's ton in Durban, the tourists will enter the third Test still to register one.

Additionally, none of the Australian batsmen are averaging 40 or above.

"We were out-played," Smith said.

"We haven't got a 100 so far in this series, so that's not ideal. Mitchell Marsh probably deserved a hundred in the first Test to be fair.

"If we're getting batters scoring big hundreds it certainly helps us out a hell of a lot. And unfortunately we haven't been able to do that so far in this series. But we've got a good opportunity to turn it around in the next two Test matches."