New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd Test, Wellington, 4th day March 26, 2012

Philander's six puts South Africa in command

46

South Africa 474 for 9 dec & 75 for 0 (Petersen 38*, Smith 34*) lead New Zealand 275 (Guptill 59, Philander 6-81) by 274 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand staved off collapse for 87 overs, but gifted South Africa an opening to push for the win, when they lost five wickets for 33 on day four in Wellington. Only two edges past the keeper allowed the hosts avert the follow on, and at stumps South Africa led by 274 runs, with 10 wickets remaining and an opportunity to crack New Zealand again on the final day of the series. Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen scored at five runs an over late in the day, hinting a declaration might come early on day five, to give their bowlers a chance to clinch the series 2-0.

Vernon Philander became the fastest man to 50 Test wickets in 116 years, as he bagged his sixth five-wicket haul in his seventh Test. His 6 for 81 was all the more impressive for the lack of movement at the Basin Reserve. Rarely straying from his impeccable off-stump line, Philander threatened even when his team-mates seemed flat and the batsmen well set. He removed Daniel Flynn to claim the first scalp of the morning, dismissed Martin Guptill on the stroke of lunch, then returned to crush the lower order with second new ball. Sharp and accurate, but uncomplicated, no side yet has learnt to play him - not even New Zealand, who might have devised new plans, having suffered so severely at his hands in Dunedin and Hamilton.

New Zealand's reply was dealt a blow when Ross Taylor took a Morne Morkel bouncer on the wrist. Morkel had intimidated, bruised and winded Taylor throughout the series, but seems to have delivered the knockout blow in Wellington. A golf-ball sized lump on the end of Taylor's forearm hid a fracture to his ulna, and he will only bat again if the situation is dire for New Zealand - perhaps not even then.

Despite Taylor's injury though, New Zealand had laid the foundations for a competitive reply. At 219 for 3 (effectively 4, with Taylor having retired hurt), eclipsing the follow-on target seemed a foregone conclusion. South Africa had stuck rigidly with a plan to bowl back-of-a-length and, at times, New Zealand seemed to be handling it. Williamson and Brownlie both pulled powerfully when the lifters didn't quite get head-high, and they had little trouble swaying away or ducking under the rest.

South Africa's perseverance eventually paid off though, and it made plain once again the definitive trait of the series: New Zealand have fought hard to get themselves in good positions, but South Africa have been the more patient side - sticking to their modes of attack until New Zealand make the errors and gift it all away.

The pull shot had been productive for Brownlie, but ended his promising 59-run stand with Williamson when he top-edged a Philander short ball to Dale Steyn at fine leg. Williamson rebuilt momentarily alongside Vettori, but was undone by another short one - this time from Steyn himself, who moved it slightly away to take Williamson's edge. Vettori was the exception, hitting a full delivery to gully, but Doug Bracewell resumed the pattern, deflecting a short ball onto his stumps for nought. Kruger van Wyk top-edged another pull before Mark Gillespie's edges saved New Zealand the ignominy of following on. Even he fell to a short ball. After having seemed so comfortable, six New Zealand wickets had fallen for 56 and three in a heap with the score on 263.

New Zealand's woes might have been even greater, had they not been given five reprieves earlier in the day. Martin Guptill provided the early substance to the reply with his first 50 of the series, but he had been given three lives.

Steyn and Morkel put New Zealand's overnight pair through a harrowing interrogation first up, testing technique and temperament with searing pace and movement through the air. Steyn drew several plays and misses with a series of outswingers to Martin Guptill, failing only to extract first blood. It was a surprise no batsman was bleeding at the other end either, where Morkel fired in bouncers at close to 150 kph.

Guptill and Daniel Flynn were intimidated into caution, having steadily introduced aggression into their play the previous evening, and though the pair applied themselves in periods, only luck prevented their early demise. Twice Guptill was dropped in the gully, Steyn fuming as JP Duminy spilt both chances diving to his left, while Flynn was hounded by Morkel - an inside edge flying whiskers wide of off stump amid a bruising chain of bouncers.

Flynn eventually lost his wicket to Philander, before Guptill got his third life on the fence where deep square leg had wandered too far infield to intercept his pull. Brendon McCullum also got a chance, Duminy spilling another catch off a now-furious Steyn, before he departed attempting to pull - he managed only to give the keeper a straightforward take.

South Africa's reply was predictably belligerent. Petersen hammered two fours off the first over of the innings, and the pace rarely relented thereafter. Twos were run hard to the outfield, and though acting-captain McCullum retained the slips in the opening overs, more defensive fields were set towards the close. Smith waltzed down the pitch to slam Gillespie into the crowd to bring up the team's 50, and soon no less than seven men patrolled the fence for the hosts. The cut-off time for the evening came before the full quota of overs had been bowled, ending a day that again promised much for New Zealand in periods, but ultimately left them in a tangle thanks to one burst of poor cricket.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and has a column here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BustIPL on March 27, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    He has done it in couple of months what others did in years but keeping form for couple of years and and grabbing opportunities coming by would have been much more difficult than using the current form quickly. Both Turner and Richardson did not have that liberty.

  • Meety on March 27, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    The Philander/Steynes combo must be the best opening bowling partnership in the world.

  • on March 26, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    For me the most exciting sight to watch in all of cricket today: Steyn, Morkel and Philander in relentless tandem!

  • on March 26, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    Amazing Vern! Where was this guy in the past few years. Kudos to Gary Kirsten for recognising talented players and getting them selected (Vern, Richard Levi, Faf Du Plessis, now Dane Vilas and Farhaan Behardien). Bold selections that we did not see during Mickey Arthur's time!

  • gowron102 on March 26, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    Vernon has been great. However just wanted to point out another rare observation in this current Test. If South Africa return to bat today as expected, then Petersen would have achieved the rare batting feat of being at the crease at some point during all of the 5 days of a test match. How often has this happened stats guru?

  • dariuscorny on March 26, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    SA's attack with England's is overhyped.both Steyn and M Morkel are in decline.Steyn has slowed down drastically same is the case with Morkel.Tahir is ordinary.real test for Philander wud be subcontinent.I mean they are not that good like it has been said.infact Aus hv good attack

  • Marktc on March 26, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    As I said before, all credit to Vernon for achiveing 50 stumps so quickly. But one has to feel for poor Dale. 3 dropped catches off his bowling....he should have had a 5-for. That's cricket though, just hope the SA's catch better next innings..

  • kunderanengineer on March 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    I guess we'll find out next July/August when SA tour England whether Botham is right when he claims that Anderson and Broad represent the best new ball combination in cricket today.

  • Supa_SAFFA on March 26, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    The flip-side of consistent line and length bowling is that it can get predictable and leave Philander with few options once batsmen decide to take him on. Consider how Shaun Pollock was hit out of the attack by Matthew Hayden in the 2007 World Cup and how he lost something of his aura as a result. To be fair that was not in a test but in an ODI and Pollock arguably did not have the same class of battering spearhead bowlers to go before him, but it's a reason for Philander to stay far away from all short forms of the game.

  • The-love on March 26, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    I would really like to see him bowling in sub-continent conditions....He has done wonderfully well in seaming conditions....but still he has to prove manythings by bowling against mahela-sanga pair in lanka,kohli-sehwag in India and may be Shakib Al Hasan in Bangladesh....

  • BustIPL on March 27, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    He has done it in couple of months what others did in years but keeping form for couple of years and and grabbing opportunities coming by would have been much more difficult than using the current form quickly. Both Turner and Richardson did not have that liberty.

  • Meety on March 27, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    The Philander/Steynes combo must be the best opening bowling partnership in the world.

  • on March 26, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    For me the most exciting sight to watch in all of cricket today: Steyn, Morkel and Philander in relentless tandem!

  • on March 26, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    Amazing Vern! Where was this guy in the past few years. Kudos to Gary Kirsten for recognising talented players and getting them selected (Vern, Richard Levi, Faf Du Plessis, now Dane Vilas and Farhaan Behardien). Bold selections that we did not see during Mickey Arthur's time!

  • gowron102 on March 26, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    Vernon has been great. However just wanted to point out another rare observation in this current Test. If South Africa return to bat today as expected, then Petersen would have achieved the rare batting feat of being at the crease at some point during all of the 5 days of a test match. How often has this happened stats guru?

  • dariuscorny on March 26, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    SA's attack with England's is overhyped.both Steyn and M Morkel are in decline.Steyn has slowed down drastically same is the case with Morkel.Tahir is ordinary.real test for Philander wud be subcontinent.I mean they are not that good like it has been said.infact Aus hv good attack

  • Marktc on March 26, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    As I said before, all credit to Vernon for achiveing 50 stumps so quickly. But one has to feel for poor Dale. 3 dropped catches off his bowling....he should have had a 5-for. That's cricket though, just hope the SA's catch better next innings..

  • kunderanengineer on March 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    I guess we'll find out next July/August when SA tour England whether Botham is right when he claims that Anderson and Broad represent the best new ball combination in cricket today.

  • Supa_SAFFA on March 26, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    The flip-side of consistent line and length bowling is that it can get predictable and leave Philander with few options once batsmen decide to take him on. Consider how Shaun Pollock was hit out of the attack by Matthew Hayden in the 2007 World Cup and how he lost something of his aura as a result. To be fair that was not in a test but in an ODI and Pollock arguably did not have the same class of battering spearhead bowlers to go before him, but it's a reason for Philander to stay far away from all short forms of the game.

  • The-love on March 26, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    I would really like to see him bowling in sub-continent conditions....He has done wonderfully well in seaming conditions....but still he has to prove manythings by bowling against mahela-sanga pair in lanka,kohli-sehwag in India and may be Shakib Al Hasan in Bangladesh....

  • RandyOZ on March 26, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Vern McGrath is just on fire. I hope he continues this wonderful form and doesn't turn into an early career specialist, a la Johnson.

  • on March 26, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    New Zealand's selection for this match showed that they were trying to force a draw from the outset. By selecting an extra batsman and asking the same bowlers who failed to bowl SA out in two prior attempts to do just that minus one workhorse they were admitting that 20 wickets was an impossibility. At best they must have been hoping that the extra batsman would help to force a draw. Unfortunately, they could have selected 11 batsmen and still have been bowled out because not one of them showed the right kind of temperament (a bit harsh on Taylor but he has got himself out all series). With all due respect to Vettori (I have always admired his approach) if he is not taking wickets then he has become the kind of bits and pieces player that destroys the balance of the team. Think ODI cricket in the 90s. NZ need a Chris Cairns/Jacob Oram player at 6 or 7.

  • justtogood on March 26, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    @gimmie a greentop - mate dont worry, ENG the players, commentators and reporters and so in their own world on how fantastic ENG are but that brilliant ENG attack had SL 170-6 but SL ARE STILL GOING AT289/8!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so that awesome bowling attack might not be that great!!!! and as for SWANN hahahaha hes just getting smashed left right and center

  • stone-mason on March 26, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    @Marktc..One cannot say that All Philander's wickets are thanks to Steyn nor can one say that for any pairing in the world. I am a SA supporter and a BIG Steyn-remover fan too. However, they merely operate as a bowling pair should, as a matter of fact the entire bowling unit did just that, operated as a unit. They were resolute, focussed and stuck to their plans made by AD who happened to be watching on the telly too. So as they are a unit, and I'm sure Big Vern will admit too, they applied the necessary and he reaped rewards for that but for also placing the cherry at the desired spot. That's it. So the credit within the context of this match is that Steyn applied his trade and admireably so, but Big Vern got the sticks. As for Mr Botham on Broad and Anderson - we need to allow him as the ranking show Eng and these lads ahead of us. We will soon learn if it will remain the same after our engagement later this year. That's right Sir, I mean Ian, dont give us what we will rightly claim.

  • hughieA on March 26, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Brilliant bowling by Philander especially, and the rest of our bowlers. They are just an awesome attack which will be very interesting when we play England. Hats off too, to the New Zealand commentators. They gave due credit to the South African bowlers, unlike some of the Aussie one eyed commentators.

  • Rash_Cric on March 26, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    Taking NOTHING away from Vernon, i think credit should really go to the whole fast bowling quartet...

  • sasi on March 26, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    every1 has forgottan about steyn's heroics

  • stormy16 on March 26, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    There are not many occasions when a guy comes along as the best "all time" and Vernons fastest to 50 test wickets is surely a sign of an altime great in the making. Not Sachin, Warne, Murali showed showed off this kind of record in their early days - its a Bradman like achievement. Ok is early days but thats what is in front of us now. Interesting at the other end you have what would normally be termed as the ultimate nightmare for batsmana - Steyn, Morkel and De Lange throwing fireballs at you but only got 4 wickets between them. This is other amazing thing - if Vernon played for SL you could say there are no other bowlers who can get a haul of wickets but this guy is bolwing alongside the worlds number 1 bowler and Morkel is not a pie thrower either and De Lange is faster than them all!

  • on March 26, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    It would be interesting to see Philander in sub continent pitches, where reverse swing is much more important.

    Again, my dream of David slaying Goliath in a major Test series is crushed down.

  • Marktc on March 26, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    We can be guaranteed tomorrow will be a day to watch. SA will come out blasting, to achieve their target score in as quick a time as they can. Smith is on form, so should be not get another dubious decision, he will be in full flight. SA bowlers are fired. Philander just keeps on picking up wickets. Steyn has kept the runs low, the bowling tight and he has yet again been unlucky with chances. His wicket tally betrays how well he has bowled. Verns wickets are thanks largely to Steyns pressure. Let's hope NZ decide to chase down the total set and don't close shop.

  • frost on March 26, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    @Andrew Fernando. Did you actually watch the game today? van Wyk didn't get out to a pull shot, it was a cut shot. Bracewell's wicket wasn't a short ball, he played it from the front foot, at best it was just short of a good length. Gillespie didn't look comfortable, he stepped away and played and missed probably at about 80% of the deliveries he faced. Also, Williamson's edge wasn't off a short ball, once again it was played from the front foot, following a wide delivery(not for the first time this season mind you)

    I don't usually complain about small mistakes in an article, but this is just terrible. All of these came from the same paragraph, I stopped reading after that...

  • Arthaurian on March 26, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    Big Vern is the future. Straight up. If you haven't noticed, or if you thought he was just a one-hit-wonder it's time for you to stand up and take notice. 6 five wicket hauls in 7 matches is no joke

  • Veritas_Aequitas on March 26, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Well done Vern! The only guys ahead of you on the list all bowled on uncovered pitches over 100 years ago. Phenomenal performance!

  • CaptainPiha on March 26, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Congratulations Vernon Philander - I had the reluctant pleasure of watching your merciless line and length today. It pains me to say it, but the BLack Caps tenacity (and they were tenacious today) cannot hide the gulf in skills between the two teams. Philander alone bowled more balls at the top of off than the entire New Zealand seam attack in the first innings. Quite remarkable.

  • AustinGege on March 26, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    Wow! This is really impressive and great for our country; Vernon is a match winner..Great stuff

  • Marktc on March 26, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    As much as Philander deserves credit for bagging 6, we have to give some credit to speedsters who kept it tight. As usual Dale had some bad luck, yet bowled very economically (less than 2 an over) and he should also get some credit for Philander's success. Smith is in good form and it is a pity about the shocker of a decision against him in the first innings. I predict tomorrow will be a brilliant day- SA will come out blasting, to get as far ahead as possible before their time or run target and then hopefully NZ will try to make a game of it and chase the target.

  • letsgoproteas on March 26, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    good work boys! Will be interesting to see how well Vernons line and length works in England.

  • NeerajKrishna on March 26, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    In the list of fastest man to 50 Test wickets, it seems Vernon Philander is playing for Australia!!! please correct it.

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    On the records page (link given in this article) Philander is listed as playing for Aus.

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    u have lots of mistakes at diffrent pages and i thought sometime to convey u all the things as i m not paid from ur side so i didnt give second thought most of the time today again u people did a mistake at http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283528.html as u people shows philander as a ausie so rectify tht and other faults on different pages so the readers get proper information.

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Phenomenal Philanderdoes it again SA are a excellent side.NZ are belowing par but are out of the picture.SA will wrap it up tomorrow. England next.Roll on.

  • GreatXl on March 26, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    best bowling currently.....pleasure to watch

  • JustOUT on March 26, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    Steyn needs to be at his best. Looks like he is not in his rhythm. If Steyn hits his peak along with Philander's current form, we can see another POM captain getting resigned or retired from TEST cricket after Eng vs SA series.

  • stone-mason on March 26, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    As was stated in a response to GSri yesterday, SA need not be given the number #1 ranking nor do they desire such gift. We a talented squadhaving embarked on a journey to enjoy the game and in the process build chances and situation to display our talent (God given but honed). On this journey we will play situationa against various opposition who will quickly learn if not already known, we're a competitive bunch with a never-say-die demeanor. Atrle All is said and done, the number #1 ranking we will assume through application in dire situations and wait for it.. PATIENCE as was displayed again today. Patience allows the boys not to get ahead of themselves and thereby, play the play required to alleviate the pressure and apply our own. With Big bats supported by Dale - The Phalaborwa Express, Venomous Viper Vern, Manacing Morne, The Speed Merchant and Tenacious Tahir with Kallis & Duminy occasionally supporting, we up for it. The Ferns have not applied Patience and exploding when needed

  • gimme-a-greentop on March 26, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    This morning was listening to Ian Botham commentating on the England vs Sri Lanka game saying there is 'no better' new ball pair in world cricket than Anderson and Broad. Does he even watch other countries play cricket? I understand his sympathy is with England but that is not exactly impartial and unbiased analysis.

  • STEYNOHOLIC on March 26, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Fantastic bowling! Wow vernon, keep up the good work!

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Dale Steyn should watch out if he doesn't want to be overtaken by Philander as the best bowler in the world. Not that I care, since both of them are on our side! Go Vernon!

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Would appreciate it if they change Philander's country to South Africa and NOT Aus at http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283528.html

    Well done Philander, you have made us proud!

  • BillyCC on March 26, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Are we seeing the greatest bowler of all time?

  • on March 26, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Philander is no philanderer, when it comes to the balls he bowls. Every single ball is single-mindedly devoted to embrace the opposition's wickets, instead of straying and spraying all over the place -- the usual attribute of a philanderer.

  • on March 26, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    This guy Philander is magical. How beautifully he bowls. Best I have ever seen, I hope he maintains his consistency. God bless :)

  • riyaz6399 on March 26, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Well done Philander:) this guys is just awesome to see bowl. waiting eagerly to see him bowling against England. he will surely test the England batsman. and don't forget steyn and morkel.one of the greatest series of cricket history after so long days. this is Riyaz from bangladesh.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 26, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    Vernon Philander - take a bow. Fairly flat, docile track with little or no seam movement. 6 wickets !! I predict another 10'fer coming up. What an average, what a start to his international career. Going to be seriously useful in England.

    I recon SA will bat for 1 hour tomorrow and have a crack before lunch, will be tough to roll NZ over in 2 sessions but they are 1 batsman down. Go SA!

  • on March 26, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Come on that was rubbish, its a sin to hit in the air in test matches, John Wright what on earth are you telling them?? You know what SAF will bowl at you so why act so surprised, there is a formula in test match cricket, hit along the ground its not a 20/20, there is no hurry, tire the bowlers out, be boring play test cricket. The team is unbalanced, unhungry and unwilling. An all rounder seamer is what we needed, 3 seamers and an old nude spinner?? Thats just asking for injuries. Just bowl some pies now......

  • on March 26, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    pure protea-philander awesome stuff

  • on March 26, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    This guy Vernon Philander is just fantastic,he has been bagging wickets in South Africa and more importantly overseas,what a wonderful start to his test career,South Africa has a fearsome and well balanced bowling attack.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on March 26, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    This guy Vernon Philander is just fantastic,he has been bagging wickets in South Africa and more importantly overseas,what a wonderful start to his test career,South Africa has a fearsome and well balanced bowling attack.

  • on March 26, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    pure protea-philander awesome stuff

  • on March 26, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Come on that was rubbish, its a sin to hit in the air in test matches, John Wright what on earth are you telling them?? You know what SAF will bowl at you so why act so surprised, there is a formula in test match cricket, hit along the ground its not a 20/20, there is no hurry, tire the bowlers out, be boring play test cricket. The team is unbalanced, unhungry and unwilling. An all rounder seamer is what we needed, 3 seamers and an old nude spinner?? Thats just asking for injuries. Just bowl some pies now......

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 26, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    Vernon Philander - take a bow. Fairly flat, docile track with little or no seam movement. 6 wickets !! I predict another 10'fer coming up. What an average, what a start to his international career. Going to be seriously useful in England.

    I recon SA will bat for 1 hour tomorrow and have a crack before lunch, will be tough to roll NZ over in 2 sessions but they are 1 batsman down. Go SA!

  • riyaz6399 on March 26, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Well done Philander:) this guys is just awesome to see bowl. waiting eagerly to see him bowling against England. he will surely test the England batsman. and don't forget steyn and morkel.one of the greatest series of cricket history after so long days. this is Riyaz from bangladesh.

  • on March 26, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    This guy Philander is magical. How beautifully he bowls. Best I have ever seen, I hope he maintains his consistency. God bless :)

  • on March 26, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Philander is no philanderer, when it comes to the balls he bowls. Every single ball is single-mindedly devoted to embrace the opposition's wickets, instead of straying and spraying all over the place -- the usual attribute of a philanderer.

  • BillyCC on March 26, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Are we seeing the greatest bowler of all time?

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Would appreciate it if they change Philander's country to South Africa and NOT Aus at http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283528.html

    Well done Philander, you have made us proud!

  • on March 26, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Dale Steyn should watch out if he doesn't want to be overtaken by Philander as the best bowler in the world. Not that I care, since both of them are on our side! Go Vernon!