South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel will not be able to bowl anymore in the ongoing Test against India, after suffering an ankle ligament injury just before lunch on the third day at the Wanderers. His participation in the second Test is also in doubt, with team manager Mohammad Moosajee saying a grade one ligament injury usually takes seven to ten days to heal.
Morkel's unavailability left South Africa in a dire position in the first Test: India's lead was 67 when he hobbled off before lunch and they had extended it beyond 250 with eight wickets in hand by the time the severity of the injury was confirmed. He will bat in South Africa's second innings only if absolutely necessary.
"Losing Morne is probably worse pain than my toothache," Vernon Philander, who bowled 18 overs in Morkel's absence, said after the day's play.
Morkel fell while fielding in the over before lunch and appeared to have twisted his right ankle when his foot got stuck in the turf as he ran around from fine leg to collect a ball. He managed to throw the ball back to the wicketkeeper but then went down, clutching his ankle. South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith, was at his side immediately and one of the fielders called for a stretcher, but after the physiotherapist Brandon Jackson arrived on the field, Morkel was able to walk off, helped by bowling coach Allan Donald.
Morkel had bowled only two overs in the second innings before he was injured. He had been South Africa's most impressive bowler in India's first innings, taking three wickets and generating steep bounce. By the end of the first session on the third day, India had reached 31 for 1, extending their lead to 67 runs.
The second Test in Durban begins on December 26.