Patel set for comeback from injury - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Patel set for comeback from injury

By Telford Vice 25/12/2006 06:11:52 AM Comments (0)

Pace bowler Munaf Patel is set to win back his place in the India team for the second Test against South Africa in Durban on Tuesday after recovering from an ankle injury.

Patel missed the last three one-day internationals and the first Test in Johannesburg after injuring his ankle in the second one-dayer in Durban on November 23.

He bowled in a match for the first time since hurting his ankle in a drawn two-day practice game against a KwaZulu-Natal Invitation XI in Durban on Saturday, taking two for 25 from eight overs.

India coach Greg Chappell said he had been heartened by Patel's performance.

"He's one of our top bowlers, so if he's fit he'll play," Chappell told Reuters. "He seems to have pulled up all right today (Sunday), so it looks promising."

India will also consider selecting Gautam Gambhir to strengthen their top order.

Gambhir was not in the team who won the first Test by 123 runs in Johannesburg last Monday, India's first Test win in South Africa.

But after top-scoring with 79 in the practice match, Gambhir seems an appropriate replacement for the struggling Wasim Jaffer.

South Africa beat India by 157 runs in the one-day international in Durban on their way to a convincing 4-0 series triumph.

But India turned the tables dramatically with their win in Johannesburg and another victory in Durban would hand South Africa a third home series defeat in as many seasons following losses to England and Australia.

South African captain Graeme Smith acknowledged his team were feeling the heat.

"Our performance at home is something we really pride ourselves on, so not performing in a home Test match is always going to create pressure," Smith told a news conference.

"The public are quite demanding, which shows that they care. They want results."

Smith said he wanted an improved performance from spearhead Makhaya Ntini, who looked lacklustre in the first Test despite taking six wickets.

"He (Ntini) would probably say that he wasn't at his best at the Wanderers," Smith said. "He's also a guy who needs to bowl a lot, and in one-day cricket he doesn't really get overs under his belt.

"But towards the end of our bowling in Johannesburg he was starting to hit his straps.

"He's a professional and he's come back from an ordinary Test match a few times, and there's no doubt in my mind that he will bounce back."

Smith said South Africa were likely to replace Herschelle Gibbs with AB de Villiers at the top of their batting order with Gibbs moving to number six.

Teams (from):

SOUTH AFRICA - Graeme Smith (captain), Paul Adams, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn.

INDIA - Rahul Dravid (captain), Mahendra Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Virender Sehwag, Vikram Singh, Shanta Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar.

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