South Africa have called up fast bowler Marchant de Lange to bolster their bowling reserves, hit hard by the injuries to Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn, for the last two Test matches against India.
A Cricket South Africa media release stated on Friday that while Steyn continued to make progress from a groin injury, sustained during the first Test at Mohali that the visitors lost, he remained a doubtful starter to play in the third match of the series commencing at Nagpur on November 25.
Philander suffered a freak ankle injury during a warm-up football session at Bengaluru in the run-up to the second Test and has returned home for treatment.
De Lange was part of the Proteas T20 squad that beat India 2-0 in the first leg of the tour, and has played two Tests, the last being against New Zealand in Wellington in 2012.
The visitors are trailing India 0-1 after losing the series opener at Mohali, while the second game at Bengaluru was washed out by rain with no play possible after the first day.
Explaining the decision to call up De Lange, South Africa coach Russell Domingo, said, “At the moment we only have three fit seamers in Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott, so with Dale still struggling with a groin injury we decided to bring Marchant in as cover so we are prepared in case one of the three breaks down.
“Marchant’s biggest strength is pace. If the ball does start to reverse-swing his pace through the air brings him into the contest. Even though his performances back home have been a bit inconsistent, we do know that as an impact player he is a guy that can turn the game with a good spell. Guys that can bowl at 150 km per hour will always be good value.”
The Proteas have had a few days to assess and dissect their short-comings and travel to Nagpur on Saturday.
Domingo said the side will take some confidence from the performances past teams have achieved at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, in Jamtha, but will need a significant improvement in all disciplines to continue with the Proteas’ winning streak at the venue.