Vernon Philander, who has missed the first two Tests against England through injury, has now also been ruled out of the third one.
While Dale Steyn is also injured, team spokesperson Lerato Malekutu said it was too early to make a ruling on Steyn’s availability for the third Test, which starts on 14 January in Johannesburg.
‘Dale and Vernon are not match-ready yet,’ Malekutu said. ‘Dale is improving daily and it is too early to say about his availability for the third Test. Vernon won’t be ready for the third test against England.’
It’s a setback but not a completely surprising one for South Africa, who has had to field a very inexperienced bowling attack in the New Years Test.
Philander injured his ankle during a warm-up soccer match ahead of the second Test against India and was initially ruled out for six weeks. However, team manager Mohammed Moosajee said last week that Philander’s availability for the Wanderers Test was ‘touch and go’.
South Africa will now pin their hopes on Steyn being fit to play in the rest of the series as South Africa are desperate not to lose the home series against England.