Standard Bank Proteas all-rounder, Vernon Philander, has credited a comprehensive team performance after the opening day of the second Test match against Australia at the Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The masterful display of skill from the new-ball pair of Philander and Kyle Abbott was complemented by another sharp contribution in the field, with acrobatic catches and a direct-hit runout lighting up the mood on an overcast and cold day.
Philander refused to take the praise following his 10th-career five-for and his most polished performance on Australian soil, which was an indication of a player full of confidence and back to his best after overcoming a traumatic ankle injury this year.
“It was a magnificent all-round performance from everyone,” Philander said in praise. “Catches need to be taken, there was also a magnificent run-out, all those things add up to a collective team effort and allow you to bowl a team out. You need those things to go your way, it was a magnificent performance.
“Runouts and great catches push on that momentum you always look for,” he said. “We are a side that prides itself on taking those 50-50 chances; whether it be a magnificent catch or a runout. Those dismissals lift the team and the morale.”
Philander will have an equally important role to play with the bat as the lower-order looks to build on a commanding first-innings lead. Temba Bavuma (38 not out) and Quinton de Kock (28 not out) will lead the response on day two, and although there is heavy rain forecast for most of the day, there is enough time in the match to plan and execute sensibly.
“Looking at the scoreboard I think we are a little bit ahead,” he said. “There is still a lot of work to be done, there is still a lot of cricket to be played. We are a team that wants to get as many runs as possible in the first innings to give us a big lead. The job is nowhere near done, there is a lot of cricket to come.”