• Philander out of first two Tests

    Vernon Philander will miss the first two Tests against England through injury while some players will play domestic cricket before the series starts.

    Philander suffered the injury in a warm-up game of soccer before South Africa’s second Test against India in Bengaluru, when he went over on his left ankle and tearing ligaments.

    The Proteas are also sweating on the injury of Dale Steyn, who missed the last two Tests in India after picking up a groin injury.

    Stiaan van Zyl, Temba Bavuma, Simon Harmer and Dane Piedt will all play in the first round of the Sunfoil Series from next Thursday.

    ‘We’re all optimistic the bowlers will get their confidence back and the batters will do the job against England,’ captain Hashim Amla said after the team arrived back in South Africa on Tuesday.

    The selectors have some thinking to do before the first Test starts on 26 December in Durban. They are expected to announce the Test squad for the series later this week.

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