Town – Vernon
Philander is expected to be ruled out of the 2nd Test
between the Proteas and Sri Lanka in Port
Elizabeth starting on Thursday.
The new ball specialist,
suffering from a hamstring strain, did not take to the field on day four of the
first Test in Durban.
It was a setback that ultimately
hurt the Proteas as Kusal Perera’s majestic 153* got the visitors over the line
with a wicket to spare in dramatic fashion.
While a decision on Philander’s
availability for St. George’s Park will only be made later in the week, Sport24 understands
that the chances are he will not feature.
With Philander also not in the
2019 World Cup plans currently, he might not wear Proteas colours again until
this October’s three-Test tour to India for South Africa’s first participation
in the ICC World Test Championship.
If, as expected, Philander is
ruled out for the PE Test then the Proteas brains trust do have a few
If they want to go in with the
same balance they had for the first Test at Kingsmead, then allrounder Wiaan Mulder will be favoured to make
his Test debut batting at No 7.
The 21-year-old Mulder is highly
rated by Proteas coach Ottis Gibson and he came close to playing in Durban, but
this injury to Philander could give him the breakthrough.
The alternative would be to go in
with an extra specialist batsman in a selection that would see Quinton de Kock
drop down to No 7 and significantly strengthen the Proteas’ batting
If they go that route, then the Proteas
will have to choose between Theunis de
Bruyn and Zubayr Hamza for that
De Bruyn, theoretically, should
be ahead in the pecking order but it will be difficult to overlook Hamza given
the domestic form he has been in since making his own Test debut against
Pakistan in the third Test at the Wanderers.
Proteas, 1-0 down in the two-match series, can salvage a draw at best if they
are victorious in PE.