South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has been ruled out of contention for the second Test against Sri Lanka with a grade one hamstring strain.
The 33-year old, ranked at No.4 in the MRF Tyres Test Bowling Rankings and fifth in the charts for all-rounders, is slated to be out for 10-12 days, thus missing the final match of South Africa's home international summer.
21-year old uncapped all-rounder Wiaan Mulder is likely to come in as his replacement, as the Proteas look to bounce back from a remarkable one-wicket defeat in the first bout.
"Vernon’s got a grade 1 hamstring strain‚" said head coach and former West Indies fast bowler Ottis Gibson. "This is the last Test match of the summer and he’s pretty much out for 10 to 12 days‚ which rules him out of this Test match.
"We will look at the conditions and then we will try make the best decision for the team. Obviously‚ Mulder would be a like-for-like replacement for Vernon‚ so that is something that we will consider as well."
Gibson also heaped praised on Kusal Perera, Sri Lanka's fourth innings hero from the first Test who scored an unbeaten 153 to guide his side to an unlikely victory, putting on 78 with last man Vishwa Fernando. "There’s absolutely no focus on revenge," he said.
"We are just focusing on playing a little bit better perhaps. When you look at what happened in Durban you have to give them a lot of credit. We threw everything at him and he withstood all of that. We bowled spin‚ we went around the wicket‚ over the wicket‚ we bounced him‚ we tried to york him.
“We did everything. And that’s the nature of sport‚ sometimes‚ somebody has a day and he then makes a personal best score to win a Test match. The thing for us and sport in general‚ is there is always another opportunity to put things right and we are all very eager to get things started on Thursday."
The second Test begins on Thursday, 21 February from St George's Park.