Knee injury rules de Kock out of third Test
South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock has been ruled out of the third Test against England in Johannesburg after suffering an injury to his right knee on the eve of the match.
Dane Vilas, who was set to play a Sunfoil Series match in Port Elizabeth, was called up as an immediate replacement and reached The Wanderers midway through the first session.
Scans showed only a mild sprain. De Kock will continue to receive treatment over the next few days in the hope that he might be considered for the final Test.
Dr Mohammed Moosajee, the South Africa team manager, said that de Kock sprained his knee at home on the eve of the Test - a mishap that was later discovered to have occured when he was walking his dogs.
"Quinton slipped and sprained his right knee at home late yesterday afternoon," Moosajee said. "Initially he didn't think it was too serious but woke up after midnight in pain and with a swollen knee. He will have investigations done later today to ascertain the extent of the injury."
De Kock, who was recalled earlier this month to the Test squad after nearly six months, scored 5 and took three catches in the New Year's Test against England in Cape Town.
This is the second time in just over a year that de Kock has suffered a freak injury. In December 2014, he rolled his ankle during warm-ups on the third morning of the Centurion Test against West Indies. Then, AB de Villiers took the gloves.
This time, South Africa could not turn to de Villiers, who has just been named Test captain. Instead, they had to get Vilas on the 8:40am flight out of Port Elizabeth to play his first Test at home. Vilas has played five Tests since debuting in Bangladesh in July 2015 and was dropped after the India tour, in which he, like all South Africa's batsmen, failed to score significant runs.
Vilas has enjoyed a return to form since his snub, however. He score a career-best 216 not out for the Cobras against the Lions in a first-class match last week. In the same match, JP Duminy, who was dropped from the Test XI after the Boxing Day match, also notched up his career-best.
Duminy's unbeaten 260 almost earned him his place back in the team, but de Kock's injury denied him and saved Stiaan van Zyl, who might otherwise have made way to allow de Kock to open the batting alongside Dean Elgar. The last-minute injury meant those plans could not materialise, and South Africa had to stick to their usual line-up.
This story was updated at 1810 GMT on January 14, 2016 with news of de Kock's scan results