Philander boost for Proteas

  • Last Updated: January 1 2013, 13:11 GMT

Vernon Philander has been declared "provisionally fit" for the opening Test against New Zealand in Cape Town, starting on Wednesday.

Vernon Philander: Passed fitness test on hamstring complaint

The seamer has come through a fitness test on a hamstring strain and is expected to spearhead the home attack at Newlands.

"He's come through his fitness test well," said Proteas captain Graeme Smith. "Unless he stiffens up later today or tonight he's fit to play."

Philander will share the new ball with Dale Steyn with Morne Morkel coming on at first change as South Africa look to consolidate their place at the top of the ICC Test rankings.

New Zealand will be reliant on skipper Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson for runs in the absence of Ross Taylor.

Left-arm seamer Trent Boult and veteran Chris Martin will lead the bowling attack with Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori both sidelined by injury.

South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wkt), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Rudolph, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Rory Kleinveldt.

New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (capt), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling (wkt), James Franklin, Colin Munro, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Jeetan Patel, Bruce Martin, Chris Martin, Mitchell McClenaghan.

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