Philander sent for x-ray on right hand

Vernon Philander took a painful blow on the hand Getty Images

South Africa are "optimistic" Vernon Philander will be able to bowl on the fourth day of the ongoing Test against England after an x-ray revealed bruising but no fracture to his right hand.

Philander was hit by James Anderson while batting and received treatment on-field before going on to score 52. He did not take the field for the first 38 overs of the England innings but returned for the final 13, although he did not bowl. Barring anything "out of the ordinary" normal service should resume on Sunday.

Philander sustained the injury off the 12th ball he faced, when he had not yet scored a run. A short ball from Anderson reared up and struck him on the glove but did not prevent him from playing some of the better shots in the South African innings. Although Philander routinely wrung out his hand after several shots, he did not appear to be in any significant discomfort and found the boundary seven times, including with a bottom-handed hoick over midwicket.

When South Africa's innings concluded, Philander was taken to the hospital and could not join his team-mates on the field. He returned to the change-room and received icing before making an appearance in the final hour. Even though Philander would have been able to bowl immediately - because his injury is external and so does not require him to spend the same amount of time on the field as he was off it - he did not bowl on Saturday afternoon and fielded with his left hand. Overnight rest should see him ready to bowl on Sunday morning.

The diagnosis is a relief for South Africa, who feared being robbed of a third first-choice player. They are without Faf du Plessis for this Test after he remained at home following the birth of his first child and will be without Kagiso Rabada for the second Test after he was suspended for a code of conduct violation.