Vernon Philander
Philander's injury suffered while playing football continues to hinder him Getty Images

South Africa will be without seamer Vernon Philander for the first two Tests of the five-match series against England starting on 26 December in Durban. Philander missed the last three games against India after tearing ankle ligaments while playing football prior to the second Test in Bangalore.

The 30-year-old was initially ruled out for between six and eight weeks but that prognosis has turned out to be ambitious, with the right-arm quick not expected to feature until the third Test, which starts on 14 January 2016. Proteas team doctor Mohammed Moosajee has confirmed the player will be absent but world number Test bowler Dale Steyn is likely to return.

Steyn will undergo a fitness test after picking up a groin injury midway through the second Test against India, which forced him to miss the final two matches in Nagpur and Delhi. Moosajee expects the 32-year-old to be available and the fast bowler could complete a first domestic fixture in six years to prepare for the series.

England face South Africa in five Tests, four one-day internationals and two T20s in an 11-game tour straddled across the new year. Alastair Cook's side fly out on 11 December to play two warm-up games across two weeks of preparation before the tour begins..