South African speedster Dale Steyn will miss the fourth and final test against India with a lingering groin injury that has limited his participation in the four-match series to a solitary contest in the series-opener in Mohali.
With the series already lost and a home series against England looming, few expected the 32-year-old to return to the squad even as his team bid for a pride-salvaging victory at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium.
"I can confirm that Dale Steyn is not going to be fit. Dale is not playing in this game," visiting captain Hashim Amla said at the pre-match news conference on Wednesday.
Currently the number one test bowler, Steyn will finish the series having bowled only 11 overs, during India's first innings at Mohali.
The turning tracks in India had already taken much of the sting off the Proteas attack and Steyn's injury meant he and Morne Morkel, who missed the Mohali contest with a quad strain, never bowled in tandem in the series.
The visitors were also unlucky as a third cog in their pace attack, Vernon Philander, sustained an ankle injury after the first test to be ruled out of the remainder of the series.
South Africa were beaten inside three days on rank turners in Mohali and Nagpur, while India dominated whatever little play was possible in the rained-out second test in Bangalore as well.
It might be too late in the series but Amla said the Proteas need to win the match at Kotla, especially before their four-test home series against England from December 26.
"We got the England series very close, two weeks after we get back. It's very important for us to get back to winning ways," said Amla, who himself endured a poor series with the bat.
"There is no freebies in test cricket. You want to make an impact and you want to win. It's very important for us to go at least 2-1, salvage some pride from the series.
"We came to India almost two-and-half months ago and we had a largely successful tour in terms of winning the Twenty20 and the one-dayers. It would be nice to cap off the tour with a victory."