Vernon Philander: It's always good to get big batters out
The seasoned South African medium-pacer got one to straighten and beat Cheteshwar Pujara's outside edge in the first innings as he rattled off and middle
Visakhapatnam: To breach Cheteshwar Pujara's defences on any surface even once is a tremendous accomplishment. To do it twice, in the same game, and that too on a deck that offered little purchase, must have delighted Vernon Philander no end.
The seasoned South African medium-pacer got one to straighten and beat Pujara's outside edge in the first innings as he rattled off and middle. On Saturday's fourth day of the first Test at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, he produced an even better delivery that shaped away and pinged the right-hander's back pad. By then, Pujara had danced to 81, which made the timing and the mode of dismissal even more impressive.
Praise for Rohit
"It's always good getting batters out, especially in the sub-continent," Philander laughed, refusing to dwell too much on those twin strikes and choosing instead to focus on Rohit Sharma, who followed up his first innings 176 with 127 in the second. "Rohit played very well. He is obviously used to these sort of conditions. He paced his innings pretty well and he played our spinners pretty well, so hats off to him."
Despite boasting 214 wickets from 58 previous Tests, Philander, 34, knew that in India, he had to veer from his usually attacking avatar. "It's about understanding your role. Coming in, myself and KG (Kagiso Rabada) knew that we probably have to keep it quiet and look to strike in pockets. Unfortunately, they played our spinners really well and our job was to keep it really quiet."
There was hope and conviction as Philander looked ahead to Day Five, which the visitors will start on 11 for the loss of first innings centurion Dean Elgar, needing a further 384 for victory. "You have to trust your processes. We had a really good first innings with the bat, the guys are in good spirits. It will be a challenge but you got to put the right foot. There is a bit there for the spinners but in saying that, we batted 130 overs in the first innings.
"Dean played a massive innings for us in the first innings. It's an opportunity for some others to put up their hands. It's a group of guys hungry to score runs."
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