India vs SA: Philander out, Steyn doubtful, Ishant back
Having served a one-Test suspension, India’s pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is raring to have a go at the South African batting line-up and is all set to replace Umesh Yadav in the playing XI for the second Test, starting Saturday.cricket Updated: Nov 12, 2015 18:12 IST
Having served a one-Test suspension, India’s pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is raring to have a go at the South African batting line-up and is all set to replace Umesh Yadav in the playing XI for the second Test, starting Saturday.
Ishant’s counterpart Dale Steyn, however, is still battling against time to get fit for the important encounter.
Ishant’s inclusion in the playing XI was never in question but what one was curious as to whom he would replace in the starting line-up.
The Indian team’s training session at the Chinnaswamy Stadium gave ample indication that Varun Aaron, who worked up good pace and also got a second innings wicket of Dean Elgar, would partner Ishant with the new ball.
Yadav, who played in the last Test match, was seen doing fielding drills for the better part of the session as both Ishant and Aaron bowled at the main nets.
Ishant, in fact, bowled for a considerable amount of time as he hurled the red cherry to almost all the top order batsmen including skipper Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Muali Vijay.
Despite being out of international cricket for a month-and-a-half, Ishant had been in good form as he got nine wickets in a Ranji game against Vidarbha and a couple against Haryana in the match where he sustained a hamstring injury.
Had he been fit, in all likelihood he would have played the last couple of ODIs.
Aaron was also seen bowling at the main nets while Yadav along with KL Rahul were seen taking catches.
Yadav did bowl later but it was to the lower order batsmen which was an indication that he might find it difficult to make it to the playing XI.
Philander out, Steyn doubtful
South African pace spearhead Steyn will be appearing for a fitness test as the team management will like to ensure that he has recovered fully from the groin strain, which he sustained during the first Test.
When AB de Villiers was asked about status of Steyn’s fitness, he didn’t sound too optimistic.
“He’s going to have a fitness test. So I’m not 100% sure. We are hoping for his return but we’ll see how he goes today and tomorrow,” De Villiers said.
Seamer Vernon Philander will miss the remainder of tour and will be replaced by fast bowler Kyle Abbott.
Philander tore ligaments in his left ankle during practice, two days ahead of the second test, and it is an injury that puts a question mark over his participation in the opening test against England that starts on Dec 26.
“Vernon will return to Cape Town this weekend to be assessed by one of Cricket South Africa’s specialists,” team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a statement.
“It is still too early to tell but he will be out for a period of at least six to eight weeks. The first test against England is six weeks away so it will be a tight schedule to get him ready and rehabilitated.”
Abbott, who will join the squad on Friday, played the last of his three tests against West Indies in December 2014. He has taken 13 wickets at an average of 19.84
All-rounder JP Duminy and fast bowler Morne Morkel have recovered from the injuries that kept them out of the first Test.
(Inputs from Reuters and PTI)