‘I think Dale and Philander are both ruled out of this match’
But there's some positive news for the Proteas, says Harish Kotian/Rediff.com, reporting from Bangalore: experienced batsman J P Duminy is declared fit for the second Test.
South Africa’s worst fears were confirmed on Friday when premier fast bowler Dale Steyn was ruled out of the second Test against India, beginning in Bangalore on Saturday, because of injury.
He joined fellow-fast bowler Vernon Philander on the sidelines. The latter missed out because of an injury he sustained during South Africa’s net session on Friday.
“I think Dale and Philander are both ruled out of this match. Obviously, losing Dale - one of the best bowlers in the world - and Philander - arguably the best all-rounder in the world - certainly changes the dynamics of the team,” South Africa captain Hashim Amla said in Bangalore on Friday.
However, there was some positive news for the Proteas as experienced batsman J P Duminy was declared fit for the match.
“Yes, he is back. The fact that J P has been a quality player for many years, he bats at crucial positions – No 5, 6 and 7 at times. He has performed in all forms of cricket. So he brings a great balance into the middle order and his off-spin too has been helpful for South Africa,” he said.
South Africa were beaten by 108 runs in the first Test, in Mohali, in which Steyn was unable to bowl in the second innings after suffering a groin strain.
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott has been rushed to Bangalore to replace Philander, who is ruled out for the rest of the series.
Amla pointed that Abbott has good control over his bowling, which should stand him in good stead in Indian conditions.
“Kyle has been one of our outstanding reserve bowlers in the last couple of years. Whenever he has got an opportunity - in all formats - he has done exceptionally well. He is similar to Vernon, in the sense that he is consistent in where he lands the ball, and you know what you will get. He has great control and great know-how on what to do with the ball,” he said.
Amla is counting on batting mainstay AB de Villiers, who is playing his 100th Test, to inspire the South African team as they seek a comeback in the series.
“As a team, we all enjoy the fact that AB is playing his hundredth game. As a South African, we know that this is an amazing feat. We have all celebrated the occasion, and, hopefully, he gets into the park tomorrow and wins the game for us - that will be ideal match for him and us.
"Having lost the previous match, obviously, it is not difficult for us to focus on this match. It's been great to have something to celebrate, but in terms of taking our focus away... no, I don't think so,” he added.
South Africa's skipper pointed out that the prevalent overcast conditions and rain during the last few days could help the fast bowlers.
“I will have a look at the pitch tomorrow, but with these sorts of conditions, and moisture around, it does not seem like the Mohali pitch.”