‘Losing Morne was very painful’, says Vernon Philander

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

“He won’t be bowling further in this match”

South Africa pace bowler Vernon Philander has announced that it was “very painful” to watch his compatriot, Morne Morkel, be helped off the pitch after sustaining an ankle injury.

Morkel injured his ankle in the over before lunch yesterday when his foot got stuck in the turf as he was running to pick up the ball at fine leg.

After collapsing to ground, clutching his ankle, Morkel was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent numerous scans which confirmed a grade one ankle ligament injury.

South Africa team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee noted that grade one ligament injuries usually take seven to ten days to heal, meaning that Morkel is likely to miss the next Test against India in Durban.

“Losing Morne was very painful,” Philander said. “From then, we knew that Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and I will have to share the bowling load, with the spinners going for runs. It was a tough day to be in Graeme Smith’s shoes, one of those days.

“He won’t be bowling further in this match.”

When asked what it felt like to become the fastest South African bowler to take 100 Test wickets, Philander said: “I take pride in my batting and work hard at it in the nets as well as when I am away from the national team. I like batting under pressure and making a play for the team when the situation demands. I was reminded about the 100th wicket quite a bit. I prepare for every game the same way and hopefully can take a few more wickets for South Africa.”

Philander was also quick to deny rumours and speculation that fellow pace bowler Dale Steyn was struggling to adapt to the conditions in Johannesburg.

Steyn has taken only one wicket in the ongoing Test match, while conceding 125 runs.

“He (Steyn) didn’t bowl that badly,” Philander said. “He didn’t have an off-day as he beat the bat a couple of times. There were quite a few played and missed ones. Don’t be fooled, the wicket has slowed down as well I think.

“Tomorrow, maybe he will take five wickets quickly. The guys are feeling low but we need to push India back tomorrow. Then perhaps we need to bat for a whole day plus two sessions. We won’t mind a little bit of rain, but even some sun over the next two days will make batting easier.”

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