Vernon Philander destroys West Indies as Proteas dominate Centurion Test
CENTURION // Vernon Philander was the main destroyer as the West Indian batting line-up crumbled on the third day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Friday.
Philander took four for 29 as the West Indies were all out for 201 and forced to follow on, 351 runs behind South Africa’s first innings 552 for five declared.
Philander struck again early in the second innings when he dismissed Devon Smith for the second time in the day. West Indies were 76 for two at the close, still needing 275 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
South Africa’s strike bowler Dale Steyn limped off the field with a tight right groin after bowling only five balls in the follow-on innings but returned and was on the field long enough to be eligible to bowl at the start of Saturday’s play.
Philander also went off, after taking one wicket for no runs in three overs, with a tight right hamstring but also returned in good time. “We haven’t played Test cricket for quite a while, so obviously there were going to be a few niggles,” he said, “but we are happy to carry on bowling. We’ll have to rest well and come back tomorrow.”
Philander, who had taken only four wickets at high cost in his previous four Test matches, did not take a wicket in his opening spell on Friday but transformed the match in his second spell.
After an opening stand of 71 by Kraigg Brathwaite and Smith, the West Indian batting disintegrated in dispiriting fashion. Philander dismissed both openers in successive overs. Smith was caught behind off a bottom edge and Brathwaite edged a low catch to first slip.
Philander later dismissed West Indian mainstay Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jermaine Blackwood. He said the key to his success was consistency. “The wicket is quite slow. You have to be really tight on your lines.”
Philander warned that victory would not be easily achieved on Saturday. “We can’t just expect to run in and get wickets. We have to be prepared to be patient.”
West Indian left-hander Leon Johnson will resume the second innings on 33 on Saturday. He bemoaned the fact the first four batsmen in the first innings had reached 30 but had then got out. “It is frustrating. No one carried on. We have to fight hard and bat for long periods tomorrow.”
Kyle Abbott had Johnson caught at cover after lunch and Morne Morkel took the important wicket of Marlon Samuels, who chopped the ball on to his stumps after making 33.
That left Chanderpaul holding West Indian hopes but Philander returned to the attack and had the veteran left-hander caught at second slip for 21, with Blackwood following in similar fashion in the last over before tea.
The rest of the batting folded after tea with captain Denesh Ramdin setting a poor example when South African captain Hashim Amla brought on occasional left-arm spinner Dean Elgar to bowl some tempting flighted deliveries outside off stump. Ramdin obliged by hitting Elgar’s sixth ball straight to cover.
Morkel wrapped up the innings by catching Jerome Taylor off his own bowling and then bowling Sheldon Cottrell. Kemar Roach did not bat after suffering an ankle injury while bowling.
Smith made only five in the second innings before he was caught by a diving substitute fielder Temba Bavuma at cover. He was given out by umpire Aleem Dar and asked for a review, which showed the ball had looped off pad and bat.
Brathwaite was out for 20 when he edged Morkel high to second slip. Alviro Petersen knocked the ball up in the air and was able to grab it with his right hand as he fell to ground.
Bavuma and Robin Peterson fielded throughout the day because wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock sprained his left ankle while warming up before play, while Faf du Plessis returned to the team hotel because of illness. AB de Villiers kept wicket.
With Steyn and Philander also going off, at one stage South Africa had four substitutes on the field.
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Published: December 19, 2014 04:00 AM