Australia in South Africa 2013-14

Philander hits Australian wall

Daniel Brettig

February 18, 2014

Comments: 119 | Text size: A | A

Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn share a laugh after India are bowled out, South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day, December 29, 2013
Australia's targeting of Vernon Philander has added further pressure on Dale Steyn © Getty Images

If South Africa's batsmen are being ruled by fear against Mitchell Johnson then Australia's are showing nothing of the sort against Vernon Philander, who began the series ranked as the world's No. 1 paceman but is increasingly struggling to live up to the expectations of his lofty perch against Michael Clarke's team.

While Philander's overall record remains prolific, his career average of 18.75 has been torn up in opposition to Australia over the past three matches. Discounting his first series against the Australians on seaming South African pitches in 2011, he has managed only five victims at 59.20 while also missing the 2012 Adelaide Oval Test with a back injury.

His absence from that match has been a source of some derision within the Australia camp, as demonstrated by David Warner before the series when he quipped, "I would have liked to see him bowl at Adelaide in that second Test when he apparently hurt his back - and was bowling in the nets three days later." The tourists' notion that Philander is a fair-wicket operator has only grown stronger with time. An indifferent game at Centurion saw him lose top spot on the ICC leaderboard to Dale Steyn.

With that in mind, the Australians have sought to absorb Philander's new-ball spell and then attack him when he returns later in the innings, heaping further pressure on Steyn and Morne Morkel to bowl more frequently and thus sapping them of energy and pace. Emboldened by the treatment Philander received from Clarke and Michael Hussey in Brisbane during the previous series, Australia have presented the South African with the greatest hurdle of his three-year Test career.

"He's probably a bloke that thrives on conditions and obviously the batters made the most of it the other day and backed themselves to play with a bit of confidence," fellow seamer Peter Siddle said of Philander. "A lot of teams have sat back and let him build the pressure on them, which has got him wickets.

"The way the boys attacked him and approached him the other day, getting off strike and swapping left and right-handers, that puts the pressure back on him rather than him building all that pressure. The boys have learnt how to play him. We're not sitting back and worried about what he's going to bring. We can put it back on him, build the pressure and keep building that on the team. I think that's the strength that showed the other day with the big innings first up."

Conditions at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth may yet be more amenable to Philander's seam-up skills, but that will also assist an Australia pace collective that is riding confidently in the slipstream left by Mitchell Johnson's ferocious assault on the batsmen of England and South Africa. Siddle said Johnson's potency allowed himself and Ryan Harris to go smoothly about their work without worrying overly about straining for wickets.

"It's always nice to have someone who's bowling so well and building so much pressure on the batsman that they get to the other end, their footwork is a bit shaky and we can make the most of that," he said. "You can build a bit more pressure the way I bowl with a certain plan, rather than trying to blast the batsmen out when I am bowling with him. It probably does change my approach a little bit."

The most important contributions of Siddle and Harris at Centurion were arguably the dismissals of Hashim Amla, after the No. 3 had, with the exception of one snorting short delivery that clattered into his helmet grille, shown an ability to play Johnson somewhat better than his team-mates. Siddle admitted to similarities between his plans for Amla and those for the similarly wristy Kevin Pietersen in Australia during the Ashes.

"That's something we looked at. Even though Amla and Pietersen do look different with their technique, the way to get them out is very similar," Siddle said. "We set very similar fields to when we were bowling to Pietersen and I tried to approach it the same sort of way.

"I have had a bit of success with players who play that type of game, it gives me an opportunity to nip it back in at the stumps and they can also fall to the ball that is going away. Everyone has fun bowling to the best players in the world, that's what Test cricket is all about. Sometimes it definitely doesn't come off, but it is nice when it does."

Whatever Amla achieves in the remainder of the series, Siddle observed that the hole left by Jacques Kallis was even bigger than players on either side had accounted for, noting the difference made to Faf du Plessis by his promotion to No. 4. Beaten by a pair of unplayable deliveries, du Plessis was also subjected to plenty of verbal barbs from an Australia team that has not forgotten his Adelaide Oval rearguard in 2012.

"I think so. I think it's a massive loss - a bloke that's batted at number four for them for such a long period of time. He's been a key. A bloke averaging over 50 does leave a big hole," Siddle said. "There's a couple of young blokes in that line-up they're obviously looking to stand up. Hopefully we can keep pushing ... and building the pressure on those guys.

"It's obviously a great start, to be able to put them under a lot of pressure after that first Test and know there's going to be a lot of pressure for them to stand up in this next Test. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing. I think our planning has been great and our execution with bat and ball in the past six months has been tremendous. We've just got to try and keep doing that."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Biso on (February 20, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

The unpalatable truth for most SA fans is that Phillander is indeed a green top bowler. I would like to see his performances in sub-continent conditions where reverse swing has to come in play and in few of the Oz pitches where the bounce or pace might be enough but not so in terms of lateral movement. Steyn is the only complete bowler in the SA team who can get wickets against any opposition despite the fact that he is already clearly down on pace. Morkel comes a distant second. Vernon comes ahead of Steyn in terms of present rating which hides the fact that he is yet to be tested in sub continent conditions.

Posted by onelongsummer on (February 20, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

Imad K

If i were an Indian supporter i would never mention there away performances , they are just terrible ! Out of the 234 away test they have played they have won only 37 of them and then if you take away the 13 wins against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe , India have only won 28 out of 221 test that is just pitiful and i can't see it getting any better with tours of England and Australia coming up for them…In fact if i were an Indian supporter i wouldn't be saying much at all.

Posted by Meety on (February 20, 2014, 6:24 GMT)

@CurrentPresident on (February 20, 2014, 1:30 GMT) - funniest post ever. I read it twice & have no idea what you are talking about!

Posted by foozball on (February 20, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

@Hello13, your comment would be just as apt in describing the 1989 ashes victors (border, merv hughes, david boon, dean jones). As an Australian I'll happily take another 15 years of domination - I guess the question is though, will you?

Posted by CurrentPresident on (February 20, 2014, 1:30 GMT)

Why doesn't someone co-relate the bounce of the pitches in a country to the average height of a player from that country? I think that ratio would determine the fair amount of bounce on a pitch.

Pitches with a bounce of 6 ft to an average ball would be unfair to a batsman who is 5' 5" compared to one who is 6'2". Why do countries with taller players moan about the bounce? Are they not seeking an unfair advantage themselves?

Posted by Hello13 on (February 20, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

These Australian cricketers seriously have no class. Behave like complete amateurs.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 0:14 GMT)

@Extra...Cover: Hold onto that stat while it lasts. Vernon Philander has been exposed as a green top wonder. Any pitch not offering him seam movement and he gets his backside handed to him on a platter.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 21:45 GMT)

Reply to Imad_K: Philander is not an average bowler. Numbers don't lie, check the scoreboard. He is number one or two I believe his speed agility is vicious check your facts b4 u make yourself look like a troll and about India being better overseas, I know the only series India has won in the last 4 something years is the one recently in WI.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 18:10 GMT)

Though the article is about Vernon, I like to comment on the point made about loss of Kallis. We have seen similar disruptions (not to this scale) when people like Sachin left Indian team and Ponting, Australian team. Possibly team selectors should make it a point to rotate playes from a pool - though not disturbing a player position but by marking at least marking a couple of players for each position. Usually B team players roughly equivalent to the first eleven. By doing this with each batting and bowling position, the transitions may be handled more easily than going through a few series before having a settled team. It may be a little unfair to individuals like Tendulkar, Kallis etc, they cant build mountains of records - but from team perspective can mean more continuity.

Posted by Imad_K on (February 19, 2014, 17:15 GMT)

Philander is an average bowler - tell me how many wickets has he taken against good batting teams like Australia or England at the time when they played. Not talking about teams like New Zeland or India - even though India have much improved their batting overseas.

Posted by Rohit... on (February 19, 2014, 16:45 GMT)

Philander will come back strongly... There is no way he should be written off on the basis of 2 or 4 innings.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

Friends, The past is the past! That is water under the bridge. Statistics is about yesterday! What counts is in what sort of form is the player? Is he up to the challenge? I agree: One is allowed a bad day at the office once so often. Let us hope that was the collective case with Vernon, Steyn and Morkel - although the latter continues to flatter to deceive. Judging by the Wand warm-up and First Test, Alviro P and JP Duminy will be easy pickings for MJ and Kie, walking wickets so to speak. It is Robbie Pieterson's old home ground. Hope is ever lasting! Fact of the matter is Graeme Smith, AB and Hashim Amla will have to make the bulk of the runs! Full stop. And the Proteas must take half chance catches! Smith must now lead from the front! No uncertainty in whether to bat or bowl as was the case in Cent. The Aussies felt his fear, not just in sending them in, but his alround performance!

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

What I saw of Philander at Centurion was a quality test No 7. In fact, he also batted in that posision in Brisbane. He should be careful with the hook shot, the Aussies will bowl short to him with two orthree fielders deep on the leg side. especially Harris. Why talk about his batting? Because I for one was very dissappointed with his bowling during that test. OK, on the 4th and 5th days he would have been unplayable with carpet kreepers. But then, he was not bowling on these days! He sprayed too many deliveries on the pads and outside leg. The average speed of his deliveries was also way down and with the ball not swinging he was easy pickings. In fact, I cannot recall and dangerous delivery he bowled during the fist innings. Against Aus in PE he should be in a defensive role, bowling line and length and leave the attack to Steyn and Morkel. Different story at Newlands. He is one of a number of players who will have to improve out of his socks, because without him, SA has no chance.

Posted by Extra...Cover on (February 19, 2014, 12:59 GMT)

To all the Philander-doubters, consider these stats.

In the history of test cricket only 20 bowlers with recognised averages have managed the "high impact" average of 5+ wickets per match (Sid Barnes is #1 at 7.0). If you remove, for the purposes of analysis, the 9 who plied their trade before WWI (the mat and cabbage patch era before international cricket expanded beyond Eng, Aus and SA), then Murali (6.01) heads the list of those who're left. If, to avoid distortions, we then remove those who played 14 or fewer tests (apologies to SA's Alf Hall, Aus's Bert Ironmonger, Pak's Shabbir Ahmed and NZ's Jack Cowie), then only seven remain.

This legendary list includes (by rank on the list): Murali, Clarrie Grimmet, Bill O'Reilly, Dale Steyn (5.08), Dennis Lillee, Vernon Philander (5.04) and Sir Richard Hadlee. Mitchell Johnson is at 4.45 wkts per match and Ryan Harris 4.31 (Glenn McGrath averaged 4.54).

Impressive company.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

Preparing wickets at home that don't offer Vernon anything is typical of SA shooting itself in the foot. We do not need opposition, we will beat ourselves. Before Vernon came along we were never no1 and he made the difference.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 19, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

That's it my friends. Keep discrediting Vernon for his fantastic record so far. He was ranked no.1 not so long ago, this is achieved by playing in 4 countries. One bad test against oz doesn't make you a failure - they are a very good team. Granted when he goes to the subcontinent, will be the litmus test.

Vernon will be back and I have a feeling he will come good soon -looking at the PE pitch, probably even sooner. He is not going anywhere from the team and I reckon he should take on more batting responsibilities as he looks comfortable with the bat in hand easily swatting siddle and Harris short stuff.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 19, 2014, 10:32 GMT)

@ Marktc: I'm Aussie and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is almost surreal. It can't be this easy. .. Six months ago we were ranked 5th and struggling to hold that so so position. .. Yesterday I saw some non-aussies saying we were the real no 1 !! I'm waiting for the bubble to burst. Have been for a while now but the damned thing seems to keep getting bigger and stronger. Maybe PE will be the pin to bust it, but you know what, I wouldn't bet on it.

Posted by Thegimp on (February 19, 2014, 10:27 GMT)

@ImonG.....The thing is mate, these Indian cricket pitches you are so proud of, these "Indian" conditions of ,low, slow, no latteral movement, dusty spin friendly decks are the reason India don't perform well in Eng, WI, NZ, SA & Australia. If I were an Indian supporter I would be pertitioning the BCCI to prepare harder faster bouncier wickets instead of hiding behind your spinners. India has had some of the most magical batsmen of all time and some very good bowlers who have been let down by this current policy. Batsmen who would have gone down to be the greatest of the game if they scored runs overseas and bowlers who could bend their back and let fly if they didn't have to pound away on unfriendly pitches and all because you think we should adapt to your world all because of your need to win at home. It's a big world out here too mate and Indian cricket is suffering as a result.

Posted by doubledeckerbaas on (February 19, 2014, 10:08 GMT)

Judging Philanders record in Australia on two test matches is a bit silly. He didn't have a great game in the first match in which SA only bowled one innings, and then took 4/90 in 36 overs in the next match he played. And if judgements are made on that series it's worht remembering that MoJo wasn't even picked for the first 2 out of those 3 tests, and played the third cos Siddle was too tired.

Posted by Marktc on (February 19, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

As we have seen on the evidence of SA tests of late, the first match in the series is their worst and then they come back from that in phenomenal fashion. It is sad that they are slow starters, but be that as it may, they will not be pushovers like they were in the first test. Vernon should be used as a containing and stock bowler. Steyn, all out strike. Morkel, all out strike (although I do think he could be replaced by a yong speedster). As for our spin....that is our weak point and it is a reflection on the team that they have risen to number one with that impediment.

Posted by Chrisd04 on (February 19, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

Would be nice to see David Warner score some 1st innings runs at some point. 2nd innings easy no pressure runs are not enough to be speaking out against a bowler as talented as Philander!

Posted by Gurudumu on (February 19, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

Interesting that some people post here 'cause they like to see their entries - a little bit of factual or investigation would be helpful. Look thru Philander's bowling figures against Pakistan and let us know if leaked runs! Mitch has had his day lets see whether she can do the same ..

Posted by vxttemp on (February 19, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

@whensdrinks: Seriously, do u want to compare Philander with Indian bowlers :-) I thought we are trying to compare him with greats like Marshall, Ambrose, Imran, Akram, Waqar, McGrath, Gillespie, Bond, Steyn, Donald and to an extent Aktar, Brett lee. And one of my all time favorite(Fannie de villiers from SA). Stats/averages can be misleading. I for one don't consider Philander a great bowler. He is good but not great. I don't think I'm jealous of him. By the way, I always take bowlers side. Philander will walk into any team except Australia, I agree on that and If I've to pick, I'll always choose Steyn and Morkel ahead of him..

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 19, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

In my previous post I meant Steve Smith, not Graeme Smith. I forgot there were 2 Smiths.

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 19, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

Ah, predicted this in the preview. Another example of great planning on Australia's behalf. It's becoming a clear feature in our game at the moment - the simple and analytical planning on opposition players is working a treat. Defend against the new ball, attack later. Who'd a thunk it? Morkel's perennially labelled a threat and yet doesn't get the rewards (he still hasn't improved his inconsistency) so really the only threat is Steyn if we deal with Vernon properly. He might bounce back - he probably will - but his record against Australia doesn't leave much to be desired. It hasn't taken long, but already debate over who has the best bowling attack is closed.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 19, 2014, 9:03 GMT)

@ Wefinishthis : I agree with your post. Mitch will come off the boil at some stage so it's over to the other 10 when that happens. Not that they haven't all being doing their bit. I guess it's just hard to get noticed when Godzilla is on the same stage. .. I think Rogers could be a key player for us in this test. For some reason, and don't ask me to explain it, I feel that his style of play could go alright if the pitch turns out to as good for the seamers as most say it will. Ditto for Smith.

Posted by ImonG on (February 19, 2014, 8:49 GMT)

Ha ha ha, after the much maligned "flat track bullies" now we have a new phrase ... "fair wicket operator " ..... the Aussies are sure excellent in finding this phrases for others. good 1 guys, for the record I do think Vernon, a very good bowler no doubt, is a fair wicket operator. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't remember him playing any test series in sub-continent, (the death bed of all pacers in the world, unless you are genuinely quick & reverse the ball). At least having an impact full test series in the sub-continent. But 1 small question, will this same phrase be used when non subcontinent batsmen or bowlers come to subcontinent and don't perform well ? If batsmen of sub-continent are judged by how well they handle the chin music, shouldn't it be the case that others should be judged on how they handle the spin music ? Or 125-130 kph bowlers like Vernon on how they bowl at low bounce tracks with rare or no lateral movement ? food for thought guys.

Posted by Meety on (February 19, 2014, 8:41 GMT)

@CustomKid on (February 19, 2014, 7:24 GMT) - thanks for that. I just can't remember any drops from him. So you done well to remember those! Knew he had to of dropped some, even Mark Waugh dropped some & he was the best slipper I ever saw.

@sachin_equal_to_bradman on (February 19, 2014, 7:27 GMT) - I know the point you are trying to make, but I would back Phillanders record around the world v Ashwin!

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 19, 2014, 7:43 GMT)

@here2rock In the second innings, yes, Australia had the better of the conditions. In the first innings Australia had to deal with the green wicket in the opening session, whereas it was flat in SA's first innings. This is shown absolutely by Australia going to 290/4 in the second innings before sending SA in to bat.

Unless you think the pitch magically got worse for SA's first innings and then magically got better again for Australia's. Then again I shouldn't find that surprising, I heard that one plenty during the Ashes.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 7:38 GMT)

I think we should give some space to southafrican batsmen and bowlers as they are not performing to their potential yet. But in the second game I think they will come hard at Ausies ... Well its time to see the unknown power house which is always there when South Africa and Australlia facing eachother. I hope we will have an exciting game ahead ... I give full marks to both teams putting enormous pressure on eachother. lets see who wins the battle.

Posted by sachin_equal_to_bradman on (February 19, 2014, 7:27 GMT)

@disco_bob: Am not trying to blast Philli here mate...Jus don blindly come to a conclusion with jus 100 wickets.AUS is suited for Bouncy wicket type bowlers..... The point is There is no denying the fact that Philli is great at the moment but he is not a proven campeigner in following countries where pitch is not condusive to swing:SL,INd,AUS(To an Extent) , PAK(If matches happen) , BAN etc...coming to ASH..If the track helps spin(Anywhere in the world) then he is as good as philli in swinging conditions . The point am tying to make is ash and philli are pitch oriented and One-Dimensional bowlers....So they are nowhere to styen and the list of greats

Posted by sachin_equal_to_bradman on (February 19, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

@Shaggy076: Yes i agree friend...But england and NZ are great for swing bowling...Wheareas AUS is suited for Bouncy wicket type bowlers..... The point is There is no denying the fact that Philli is great at the moment but he is not a proven campeigner in following countries where pitch is not condusive to swing:SL,INd,AUS(To an Extent) , PAK(If matches happen) , BAN etc...coming to ASH..If the track helps spin(Anywhere in the world) then he is as good as philli in swinging conditions . The point am tying to make is ash and philli are pitch oriented and One-Dimensional bowlers....So they are nowhere to styen and the list of greats

Posted by here2rock on (February 19, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

Australia is getting very cocky that had the better of conditions in the first match, South Africa can easily turned the tables on them.

Posted by CustomKid on (February 19, 2014, 7:24 GMT)

Meety, Disco Bob, and Tommytucker my fav posters by far on this site along with JG.

It's an interesting series and as a Aussie I'm cheering hard for the boys, but I'm on the conservative side also. The saffas are good with their backs to the walls and I think they will bounce back in this test.

They need to bat first and get a defendable total on the board and they'll be good. The thing with the Aussies right now is that there is always someone standing up with the bat in the top 7 and at least allowing us to post respectable total for the bowlers to defend. A sign of a good team and possibly the influence of boof rubbing off.

Meety back in the 2009 test series which we won 2-1 with Mitch dominating with bat and ball Kailis dropped 1 or 2 catches that I clearly remember. They are rare but he didn't have a 100% clean sheet. Roll on Thursday, this is a cracking country to play tests, and these 2 teams always put on a good show.

Posted by android_user on (February 19, 2014, 7:16 GMT)

Big thing I've noticed with Vernon is since coming back into the ODI settup his action has changed slightly, seems to be bowling more round arm which, while giving him a few extra km/h and a little swing early, his bowling isn't seaming around half as much. He cant be compared to Anderson swing bowler. he is more Mc Grath like in relying on little deviations off the seam and extracting anything out of a deck there is. If he sorts his action he will come good.

Posted by android_user on (February 19, 2014, 7:11 GMT)

@ sachin equal bradman. You say Philander played 95% at home?? Realy?? 10 out of his 21 matches is away from home just saying where Ashwin maybe has 2 or 3 out of 20 odd tests, comment when you have facts not just when you want to defend a shockingly poor Indian bowling line up

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 19, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

@Jeet Mavdiya Well played sir, well played.

Posted by wapuser on (February 19, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

Instead of releasing the ball now a days he is trying to pitch the ball Short

Posted by CustomKid on (February 19, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

Kit_Silver on (February 18, 2014, 19:38 GMT) you obviously didn't watch part 1 of the ashes in England in 2013?? Don't forget their senior coach was sacked just 2 weeks out from the first test. With a little luck and weather on their side Australia could have won that ashes series and it was a lot closer than the 3-nil score reads.

I'm sure Vernon will be back as soon as he's got some cloud cover, a spicy pitch that is greener than the outfield, and a nice amount of humidity.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 19, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

@sachin_equal_to_bradman, while it is true that Philander did poorly in Adelaide taking no wickets, even the great Glenn McGrath had trouble taking wickets when he wasn't playing.

Posted by android_user on (February 19, 2014, 6:43 GMT)

why pragyan ojha is not in playing 11 inthe test i think that this the righttime to change the captain of our indian cri team

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 19, 2014, 6:26 GMT)

I suspect we will have to Win a test match to end these constant articles from Daniel Brettig. Jeez, cut the guy some slack, he bowled fine in the last Test and I thought he was unlucky not to get a few wickets. He will be back.

I think these articles are unfair and if anything Morne Morkel should be in the spotlight for criticism instead. Lets not forget Verons batting, which is improving, making him a real all-rounder option in the future.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (February 19, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

Strange. I don't recall Philander having the same consistent level of success in county cricket either, and you'd have thought that environment would have been tailor made for him.

Posted by arunsubbu on (February 19, 2014, 6:18 GMT)

Philander is nowhere near his best and over his prime as could be seen against india where they struggled to trouble some mediocre indian batsmen sans kohli and rohit.Similar is the case with morne morkel..this SA team looks jaded and needs some serious influx of new talent.Starting with the captain.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 19, 2014, 6:13 GMT)

@Meety, I also would have got nervous at talking up the Australian team and during the Ashes I was expecting KP to take the game away and change everything at any moment. I only became a believer when I saw MJ and the rest of the bowlers, keep up the standard right the way through. The way they all bowled as a unit and kept building pressure with barely any release at all, was breathtaking. It was obvious though that the top order batting in the first innings was a bit lacking.

I was adopting a wait and see attitude in SA because there was a lot of big talking but after this first game, I genuinely feel confident that we will be playing a dead rubber in Cape Town, and I know it sounds a bit hubristic but I feel that it's genuinely true. Especially now that Lehmann seems to have been able to pick two debs and get it right.

Posted by Chris_P on (February 19, 2014, 6:11 GMT)

@@ Srikumar Narayan. Your shudder will be nothing compared to what some batsmen will show. Have you forgotten what an 18 yo did to a stronger batting line-up a little over 2 years ago? Add Starc & Pattinson into the equation & you might just get an idea, sunshine.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 19, 2014, 6:03 GMT)

sachin_equal_to_bradman; He ahs also played in England, New Zealand and UAE where his average is under 24 in all these countries. His Australian average is high but if you look at those two tests he played he did as well as Steyn who is rightly considered a great. As for Ashwin he has only done it in one country, Philander has been good in 4.

Posted by Last_Wicket on (February 19, 2014, 6:00 GMT)

Its a bit early to write Philander off. I remember a few years ago when Johnson was considered a top fast bowler. Cant remember if it was in England or Australia but he had a poor series and looked overrated. It took Johnson a few years until to get his confidence back and now he is most probably the best fast bowler in the world.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 19, 2014, 5:51 GMT)

I expect SA to bounce back somewhat. It will be interesting to see if Australia will be rattled or stick to their plans. That will be the key. I also think Lyon and Peterson/Duminy might play significant roles in the result of the next test as well. I can't wait; SA V Aus test series are always good to watch.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (February 19, 2014, 5:47 GMT)

The MoJo's form can't stay as it is. He will still get wickets, but surely he can't play as well in this game as he did at Centurion. A green wicket, especially if there's cloud cover is a good roll of the dice for South Africa now that they're behind. If South Africa are behind in the series and their batsmen are struggling to score anyway, may as well bring the opposing score down to your level. A seaming wicket should bring Philander and Morkel back into the equation and with Steyn, one would expect the Aussie batsmen to struggle, however Warner has played well on a green wicket before against NZ and Clarke has played well against this SA attack in difficult conditions as well so anything can still happen.

Posted by Int.Curator on (February 19, 2014, 5:47 GMT)

Simple Australia winning formula

Australia will go to length to do what the opposition would least like.

Philander has been exposed and is vulnerable and weak after the new ball is seen off.

He will be targeted and it will be relentless.

Each SA player will be made to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.

SA 1st test performance and defeat will be mentally demoralising .

Interested to see who will lift.

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (February 19, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

why doesn't SA have AB at 4? the best man in this team? and have Faf at 5? I understand AB also keeps and hence needs more rest, but they should look at freeing AB of keeping duties and instead have Quinton keep. brings in a lot of excitement too...

Posted by sachin_equal_to_bradman on (February 19, 2014, 5:31 GMT)

@Shaggy076: Yes philander has an unbelievable average...Yes he is no.1...Yes he bowls in awesome areas....Let me ask one good question..Does he really deserve so much credit??? Why beacause.In conditions where it does not swing, He is almost as bad as anyone!!! Eg:Adelaide and Aus Series...He has played 95% of his tests at home swinging conditions...Then is it fair to Call ASHWIN great because he too averages below 20 in tests played in idia where it helps spin???? Can u answer this? Let philli prove it in sub-continents and other unhelpfull conditions

Posted by doubledeckerbaas on (February 19, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

Everyone knows Philander had a fortunate start to his career and took more wickets than perhaps he's worth.....but you don't get to number one by being a fly by night. No one can expect him to keep getting 5 for every game, but he's still one of the best and I like the fact that the Aussies are speaking out in what seems to be arrogance. It'll backfire on them, and I predict Philander to bounce back, as Steyn and Morkel do whenever they are under rated.

Posted by Praxis on (February 19, 2014, 5:11 GMT)

Why is everyone underestimating SA bowling attack this much? I don't think it's such a good idea.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 19, 2014, 5:02 GMT)

These threads are starting to get very humerous. On one hand we have the supporters who waited to get stuck into the Aussies for playing bad are now trying to find something else to get stuck into them ie imaginary bodyline. Then on the other hand there are people stupid enough to call a bloke averaging 18 with the ball in test cricket an average bowler. I put it down to jealousy, Mitch is in unbelievable from right now and bowls no more short balls than a Morkel or a Steyn. Philander has finally had one average test and some people jealous of his talents feel the need to attack him, I'm an Aussie, I agree he looks innocuous but a bloke with a bowling average of 18 is class.

Posted by pull_shot on (February 19, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

with Aus having good bowling attack we r going to see flat decks in this series but with flat beds philander is not going to be effective, though ahead for him

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 4:51 GMT)

He is a green track bully.Wish that could be also true of the SA batsmen!!! But they have been found wanting!!! So much so for being good players of "pace" and "bounce".

Posted by STRAIGHT_TALK on (February 19, 2014, 4:35 GMT)

Very happy to see the type of quality analysis and scrutiny of a bowler who has been overhyped to a large extent. In this era of small grounds, heavy bats and ultra-protection to the batsmen, any bowler who has been consistent in getting wickets is hailed 'great'. The article also throws light on how Test teams win matches with bowlers hunting as a bunch and why it is not possible to win Test matches with one super player. I wonder how one Mr.Ishant Sharma would fare in analysis as a performer if such a dissecting standard of performance is applied to him. All in all, one can foresee some competitive cricket with bowlers calling the shots.

Posted by Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on (February 19, 2014, 4:17 GMT)

Philander absolutely swum to 100 test match wickets.It gets difficult from here on.He has done a terrific job for the Proteas over the last couple of years opening the bowling.But batsmen over the world are quickly realizing that he is not much of a threat if you see his opening spell through.Also that they can leave most of his deliveries as he does not attack the stumps most of the time.They can attack him during later spells.An important thing about playing cricket at the top level is how you adapt to conditions that are not ideal for your style of cricket and meet the challenge of the opposition finding you out.The next 100 wickets will tell us more about Philander the cricketer and the man.

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 19, 2014, 4:10 GMT)

Vernon Philander bowls at 125 KPH. Just an overrated bowler like tsotsobe. Even spinners bowl faster than him.

Posted by whensdrinks on (February 19, 2014, 3:41 GMT)

Philander is a good bowler, nobody with any cricket knowledge should dispute that. I suspect that his figures are inflated because he is lethal on green tops or wickets conducive for swing bowling. Not nearly as effective when conditions don't suit him but even then he is good. He would walk into just about every other test team in the world apart from Australia (and he would have probably walked into ours when we played in England).

He reminds me a bit of Alderman, or Anderson - if the ball is hooping they are unplayable, if the ball is old and not reversing they are medium-fast paced trundlers.

@ Inderjeet Singh - if he is the "waste bowler i seen" then you weren't watching the Indian bowlers in NZ very much.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 19, 2014, 3:30 GMT)

@raki99 so you obviously didn't watch the ashes?!

Every Australian batsmen (including Haddin) except Bailey scored centuries during the ashes. Rogers was also the highest run scorer from both teams over the full 10 tests. Bizarre to say a "2 man team"!

Posted by __PK on (February 19, 2014, 3:12 GMT)

Albie Hanekom, noone's forgotten that 47, not least SA fans holding onto past glory. But they've all forgotten SA's shameful 96 in that same match. How come we never hear you guys say "Mind you, we also humiliated ourselves for 96, so maybe there was something in the pitch that made the bowlers look good."

Posted by bjcm12 on (February 19, 2014, 2:55 GMT)

The gap created with Kallis's retirement cannot be filled. Du Plesis is a pup still. it will take long - until he fit into the number 4 slot. Philander is useless he is highly overrated. Aussies will really go to town with him in the next two tests.

Posted by Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on (February 19, 2014, 2:11 GMT)

Everyone is talking about how Australia is only dependent on Johnson. While he is their main weapon and no doubt the main reason for their recent dominance, the rest of the team has performed splendidly. They are growing into world beaters. I still don't get why people keep pointing out how badly the Aussies lost the Ashes in Eng because it was not that crushing. The 3-0 was a lot closer than it appeared. They had a chance to win every single match, they just couldn't win the crucial moments. Eng on the other hand, had no chance. Barring the first day of in Brisbane, they were out classed for the entire series. The same for SA. They were on the backfoot after Marsh and Smith took the game away. The Aussies are winning because of a collective team effort. The batsmen are finally starting to contribute. Yes, they were a bit lucky, but they capitalized on it and that takes skill too.

Posted by Meety on (February 19, 2014, 2:04 GMT)

My 2 cents worth on Kallis. A great of the game, the most prolific allrounder in history (I don't rate him as the best - just acknowledge/admire his durability, skill & determination). The Kallis "hole" is big. I have a gut feeling (unprovable) that he would of struggled against this Oz pace attack - mainly just an age thing, it is harder the closer you get to 40 to counter genuine pace. So I dont think it is really his batting or his bowling that the Saffas miss most, it is his slip fielding. I rate Kallis as the safest slipper I have ever seen. I don't ever recall seeing him EVER drop a catch. So can somebody out there ever recall one???????? Anyways - had Kallis played - I would say without doubt - Warner would not of got his century. There is no way Kallis would of dropped him twice - even if he needed a walking stick to stand in the slips. It took Oz several years getting over M Waugh missing in the slips. SA will have a fair bit of trial & error to come in the slips!

Posted by Meety on (February 19, 2014, 1:55 GMT)

@Albie Hanekon - ease up there mate. I don't see anybody really bagging him. Some are questioning his brilliant stats - currently he is on track to be greater than Mcgrath - is he really that good (I mean that great)? I don't know, what I do know - is that I use to think Steyn could not maintain that insane Strike Rate of his (that was about 4 years ago) - and I readily accept I was wrong. Phillander does have some question marks that will need to be addressed along the way - but at the moment I am content he is ranked #1 or #2. History will judge if he is like Anderson who requires certain conditions to be a great bowler, or where he fits in all time stakes. You may like to know that Siddle has a bowling average UNDER 29 - not almost 30. Siddle's career stacks up in that he has played a lot longer than Phillander & had a wider range of experiences to bowl in. IMO - Siddle is nowhere near great, but a very important part of the pace attack.

Posted by Meety on (February 19, 2014, 1:43 GMT)

I get nervous when we say too much before a Test match & particularly against the Saffas as they deserve their CURRENT ranking. I am a massive fan of Amla & am fast getting on board the ABde train! So I cannot get too cocky as I assume those two can easily lead a recovery - not to mention Smith who (in cricket terms) is probably the ugliest batsmen to average around 50 in the history of Test cricket - does it on guts. That batting line up combined with any attack that has Steyn in it deserves respect. As for Phillander, like a few Ozzys am a bit puzzled by his stats. When the Saffas toured Oz, he was definately a class or two below Steyn & Morkel. Maybe he profits from their pressure? I do suspect that as he is able to move the ball both ways any pitch that provides seam assistance SHOULD make him very difficult - regardless of the type of pitch, that does take skill. I have cringed reading this article as a bloke like Phillander with that record is due a bagful - soon!

Posted by Thegimp on (February 19, 2014, 1:20 GMT)

@PACERONE....The trouble is Pacer, that during the Ashes and prior to the first test in SA, most Australian fans were optimistic but not confident about beating SA at home. During the Ashes and prior to the first test all we heard from your part of the World and Indian fans was that SA were going to send the pretenders home packing, they woudl grind Aust into the dust and that the #1 batting line up and the #1 bowling line up would devastate Mitch and Co with their batting and rip through the Australian batters like a hot knife through butter. The first test has dished up quite the opposite so you can be a little forgiving if Aust supporters are on the front foot. We are shocked, amazed and in awe of what this team has achieved from where it came from just a few months ago.

Like I said prior to the first test.....Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

Posted by KPWij on (February 19, 2014, 0:28 GMT)

Even being a rather biased Australian and wanting a 3-0 victory to the baggy greened men I do find some comments incredibly disrespectful and harsh regarding Philander. Vernon has been extraordinarily good on seaming green tops and I cannot find any bowler in history with a record comparable to his on green wickets, in SA he has gotten 63 wickets in 11 matches and some have been flat wickets as well in the second innings. He unfortunately hasn't had the opportunity to play on roads in the subcontinent or even get a fully fit performance in Australia on different sporting wickets. Even on the flatter wickets he can provide the control and economy to keep the runs down while Steyn and Morkel pound in from the other end. He has only played 21 games and 106 wickets would make any captain smile... I think spectators referring to him as overrated and sub-par must remember that he could simply be out of form... remember how Mitchell Johnson was 2 yrs ago and now look what he is doing!

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 23:52 GMT)

Wont write off phil yet he is still a very good bowler check his stacs need not say no more

Posted by tp565 on (February 18, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

@Albie Hanekom: so you're seriously comparing him to Glenn McGrath? Please don't put the two in the same sentence. Don't worry, his average will be closer to Siddle's by the end of this Series. Since 2011... with only 5 wickets @ 59.20 it's obvious he is struggling and he knows it. He seems to have become a victim of his own ego since his over-rated debut. Maybe he needs to shed a few kilos and get fit too. In the meantime, Australia will do as Sidds says - just see off his 132km/h trundlers on 5th stump - then proceed to take him apart. He's far from a world class bowler.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 18, 2014, 23:31 GMT)

@Akhter786, I think you'll find that Amla did not 'blast into the cricket arena...' he sort of hobbled in and wobbled around for a while much like a newborn foal.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

Vernon Philander and Ravichandran Ashwin are pretty much the same. Both are bowlers who are among the fastest ever to get to 100 Test wickets, but both did so in helpful home conditions. Both struggle to be even a fraction as effective outside of these conditions.

It doesn't mean that they're not useful, but that they should be selected in conditions that favor them, but someone else should be making the playing XI when conditions are more foreign.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (February 18, 2014, 22:44 GMT)

Johnsons form is superb, but i think people are forgetting guys like Pattinson and Cummins, who have shown glimpses of similar devestation in their short careers. Pattinson can get right up around 150kph as well and with similar accuracy and consistency to Johnson. He Just needs to strengthen his body to handle the stresses.

Cummins took SA apart in his debut and if he ever gets his body right will be an absolute weapon for Australia. Then you have plenty of good backups like Bird, Cutting, Hazlewood, McDermott and Sayers

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 18, 2014, 22:22 GMT) (Post on February 18, 2014, 16:43 GMT): That makes sense - thanks. Yes both players very wristy with quick hands; works well against seamers when there's not much movement through the air or off the seam, but fraught with danger (as you say) as could get bowled/LBW or (as in KP's case) get caught by 'reasonably-close-in-fielders' if the ball goes slightly aerial. Bowlers like Siddle good at exploiting this ploy.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 18, 2014, 22:08 GMT)

@ kit_silver while having MJ in red hot form is a definite advantage, the Aussies also out performed the proteas in batting, fielding and spin bowling.

The Aussies aren't a one man show, as an example the test in January at the SCG MJ took only 6 wickets in the match, and it was a very comprehensive victory.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 18, 2014, 22:07 GMT)

@Srikumar Narayan, yes you should shudder at the thought of what will happen when Mitch retires because by then Cummins' will be back up to full strength, his body wasn't really ready when he blew SA away with 6/79 last time, he was only 18 years old then.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (February 18, 2014, 21:59 GMT)

@Kit_Silver You enjoyed the good times with Steyn and Morkel. That time is over now. Bye bye No. 1 test team.

Posted by ChuckerCarn on (February 18, 2014, 21:58 GMT)

Siddle is on a wind up. Its off the field ,but its still sledging and it makes me laugh like hell. The likes of Albie and Co get all wound up, it sells tickets and generates more interest. Gee, the Aussies have tried to work out a plan to handle Philander, why, because he is one of the best in the world. Its only because they respect him that they have to work out a plan to hande him in the first place. These two side are incredibly evenly matched at the moment. In Australias favour is Mitch, a revelation since he improved his fitness and has a coach and captain that use him how he should be used. In Australias favour also is that there is no spinner for SA and no Kallis. Mitch, no Kallis, no spinner!

Posted by disco_bob on (February 18, 2014, 21:58 GMT)

@PACERONE, you talk as if it's unfair that we have MJ, is MJ the reason that we scored two double century partnerships. Oh wait, that's not fair either because we couldn't have done it if SA were not so crap in the field. Life is such a bitch sometimes.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 18, 2014, 21:52 GMT)

"Everyone has fun bowling to the best players in the world" perfectly sums up the new Australian attitude instilled by Lehmann.

@Kit_Silver, why are you bringing England into this, wouldn't it be better to ask what happened when MJ wasn't around last time you played us? Let's see, after taking no wickets at all during the warm up matches, Philander came in to a fast and bouncy Gabba pitch and only no wickets at all for 103, and he was too scared to bowl in Adelaide.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

philander and steyn are at best onething u have to notice

jhonson cant able to bowl full and then swing in to rite handerz

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (February 18, 2014, 21:17 GMT)

Albie Hanekom, you are right that Philander destroyed Australia in that 47 innings. But you might also recall that Watson did similar things to the SA that very same morning, running through the SA lineup like a hot knife through butter. SA lost 9/49 in the first session. Watson bowls about the same pace as Philander and they are similar bowlers in many ways, so clearly conditions were very favourable that day.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 18, 2014, 20:48 GMT)

@Albie Hanekom Also a lot of South African supporters seem to have nothing but bad things to say about Harris even though his average is better than Steyn's. They judge him on his performance in the first test of this series, but if I'm honest compared to the Rhino I know he bowled quite badly. Still got Amla's wicket though. MJ certainly didn't bowl his best either, and Siddle's line and length was not as consistent as it usually is. Most SA supporters think we bowled beyond our capacity in that first test, when the attack wasn't even close to firing on all cylinders.

Posted by Mervo on (February 18, 2014, 20:44 GMT)

Next wicket will be softer and slower to suit Philander and reduce Johnson's impact. It is obvious. However, they should remember Nathan Lyon. He can exploit those conditions. SA have no decent spinner and neither do India these days. Lyon has good control of flight and bounce, something the Indian spinners have completely lost.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 18, 2014, 20:32 GMT)

@Albie Hanekom Actually the only specialist pace bowler that averages over 30 in either side is Morne Morkel. Might want to check your facts buddy.

Siddle and Philander are actually very similar bowlers, but Siddle doesn't get the new ball and he bowls a bit quicker than Philander. If you can't see the similarities between how they both bowl you are absolutely lying to yourself.

Posted by thectexperience on (February 18, 2014, 20:22 GMT)

Siddle may be ranked #6 in the world, but he is the king of old-ball/flat-deck fast bowling. This article gives you a clue as to why. If not for Wade's missed stumping in the 2012 Adelaide Test vs SAF he would have won us that game and with it drawn the series.

Posted by android_user on (February 18, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

Class bowler you cant have the figures all the time but suggesting like some here that he is rubbish suggests that none of you know cricket. He is in exactly the same mold as a Pollock or McGrath type all of them have great records. Incredible that guys averaging almost 30 like Siddle over 30 like James Anderson and Broad is seen as very good but this guy having got more then a 100 wickets at 18 is seen as rubbish. Mind bowing!! But having said that I find it great that oz or underestimating him maybe they forgot that he was the chief destroyer that bowled them out for 47, expecting good things in PE. And dont forget Steyn will be fully recovered from his broken rib and ilness, NEVER have they been average 2 games in a row

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 19:45 GMT)

Guys.. Philander is no longer the No. 1 bowler. Its Steyn again as per the latest ratings. Philander is 2nd, Harris 3rd, MJ 4th and Siddle 6th. Morkel out of top 10.

MJ just broke into the top 10 before the start of the series, he's already in top 4. A few more wickets in the 2 matches and he might just become the No. 1/2 bowler in the world. Not bad for someone who was written off as a test player.

Posted by Kit_Silver on (February 18, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

Don't you worry Peter Siddle, Vernon Philander will be back. The reason your winning this series can be summed up is one word, Mitch. When he wasn't around v England in England what happened? Hey! England won 3-0. So enjoy the advantage while he's on form.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 18, 2014, 19:28 GMT)

@PACERONE I'm an Australian supporter and I'm hoping that SA put a big total on the board in this series up front, something in the 350+ range first innings. I'm highly interested to see how our new look batting line up fares against the SA attack with some runs to play with. More interested than a 3-0 whitewash where SA never make runs. At this exact stage in time a lot of the key Australian players are getting on in years and I want to know how our batting looks for the future. Our bowling stocks run very deep and there's nothing to worry about there, I want to know what happens when our batting is under pressure. IF SA asked to leave enough grass on the PE pitch that it's a bowl first pitch I'll be extremely disappointed in them.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 18, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

@swauzzie I think Ojha could probably do that if he got a shot... but he's being overlooked for Ashwin and Jadeja who seem to prefer firing the ball in than any sort of flighted delivery. It'll turn in India if you do that but you're out of luck in SA, NZ and Aus.

Posted by CM1000 on (February 18, 2014, 19:09 GMT)

@ Raki99 You said "Australia are two men army during the recent ashes , Johnson and clark". I guess you didn't notice that Clarke had only the fifth highest batting average in the series, behind Smith, Rogers, Warner and Haddin, and only just ahead of Watson. And Clarke was outscored by four of his team-mates in their crushing win at Centuriion a few days ago. And while Johnson is no doubt the leading bowler, Harris is ranked the 3rd best bowler in the world, and Siddle the 6th best in the world. Hardly a one-man bowling attack.

Posted by page8383 on (February 18, 2014, 19:06 GMT)

@Raki99 you do not watch enough Australian cricket. Harris also took 22 wickets at under 20 a piece against England. Clarke was only the 4th top scoring Australian during the most recent Ashes and averaged only 40 (5th highest Australian average). Clarke also did not fire in the Centurian test.

Posted by PACERONE on (February 18, 2014, 19:06 GMT)

It is just lovely to hear all the comments made by this Australian team.When and if SA get a large total and put this team under pressure you will not hear from them.They will be angry players on the field.Most batsmen will make runs if you keep dropping the catches they offer.Warner is one to talk about bowler who can only bowl in certain conditions.There are lots like that.Anderson comes to mind.For Australia only Johnson is providing the big advantage at this time.

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 18, 2014, 19:04 GMT)

@wapuser: which country are you really from?? I see you in every forum posting as Ind fan but when Ind loses you comment as the opponent...i also saw your comment in Ind vs NZ forum you were commenting as Ind fan during the match but when Ind lost you were posting as NZ fan trolling Ind...atleast have the guts to support one country...get a life

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 18, 2014, 19:00 GMT)

I always had doubts on this guy....He is the most overrated bowler in the SA team...he bowls well only if there is some assistance in the pitch...he will struggle in subcontinent pitches...

Posted by AlSmug on (February 18, 2014, 18:45 GMT)

@raki99 lol, you obviously did not watch the 5 test series in australia it was between haddin and johnson for the man of the series , clarke struggled with the bat his captaincy was good though, warner, rogers watson smith all got 100s ,Harris averaged below 20 with the ball , you need to tighten your fragile little mind and realise this side is a quality team with huge amounts of quality bowling depth

Posted by swauzzie on (February 18, 2014, 18:25 GMT)

@wapuser ou've got it all wrong mate! A good/great spin bowler isn't going to NEED "rank turners" to get wickets & become no 1 bowler. If they do, then they're really no 1 are they? If you choose to become a spin bowler, then you have to recognise that you're going to need to find a way to bowl on ALL Surfaces not just mudbowls like the bunch of bowlers you named there! To get to a number 1 ranking & stay there, you've gotta have the all round goods - for all Surfaces. Personally I beleive that if nations like India don't stop doctoring pitches (ie dumping a load of mud in the middle of a cricket field & Calling it a cricket wicket) then they'll never get to be the great test nation that they think they already are. Just an opinion....

Posted by Jimmyvida on (February 18, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

Johnson is not just a good bowler in these conditions, he is a dangerous bloke. When India concluded its tour of SA I wrote that they must not make the mistake of preparing wickets like these for Australia or they would regret it. Was I right or what?

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 18:02 GMT) . thats exactly the point Siddle is making between KP and Amla. they use their wrist alot, so they are lbw candidates when they miss the indipper trying to whip the ball across the line. also these wristy type of players are vulnerable playing the off drive at times. because when ur wristy most times u dont meet the ball on the full and throw ur hands at it and exposed a gap between bat and pad and get bowled through the gate. siddle exploits that alot, with his cutters and stump to stump bowling. he has bowled kp through the gate alot along with the lbws. amla has been dismissed like that alot of times by other bowlers. so dont be surprised if siddle or harris gets him out like that for the rest of the series

Posted by Raki99 on (February 18, 2014, 17:52 GMT)

Australia are two men army during the recent ashes , Johnson and clark If you take care of this two you have a chance, the Other batsman are ok. They will fire once In a blue moon. Johnson is in his form of his life he has peaked the question is how long will it last. Injury will creep in at some moment of time. I would Like to see how aussie win without him.

Posted by Selassie-I on (February 18, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

Yes, he's a seam and swing bowler who looks for lateral movement, if the conditions are offering little or none he won't look as threatening after the new ball. He doesn't have raw pace or bounce to fall back on.

Aus playing the mind games again, now they have boof they seem so good at putting all the pressure on the opposition before matches.

Posted by Akhter786 on (February 18, 2014, 17:25 GMT)

SA batting will recuperate from the Loss of Colossus King. It is hard times for them. Smith is going through the last lean patch of his career and Amla is probably experiencing his first (after blasting onto cricket arena as modern great).

The sordid state of affairs is down the order. R peterson and Mclaren and Duminy.... ?? U gotta b kidding me. Get rid of them all. Though Mclaren deserves more chances.

Unfortunately for SA this all came happening on a tour against a rampant side lead by a ragging bull. My sympathies with SA.

Come on Mitch.. Thats the way to go.

Posted by smudgeon on (February 18, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

You and me both, xtrafalgarx. A guy who gets wickets that quick has something, but I never thought he was particularly special - just a good, nagging-type bowler. Sort of like a lot of spinners when they come on the scene - the bamboozle at first, but once batsmen start to figure them out, they come back down to earth. Same goes with Philander, although I his sort of bowling is often going to be effective when there's a bowler like Steyn up the other end and a bit of life in the pitch. The Aussie batsmen would be foolish to take him lightly, but then again, I don't think they're taking anything lightly at the moment - the intent is excellent to see after the last few years...

Posted by Jimmyvida on (February 18, 2014, 17:03 GMT)

It is all a question of timing. When India toured SA the ball seamed and swung a lot and the situation was tailor made for Philander. Now he is getting very little. He looked great then. Now... As soon as the ball begins to get old, he will look quite ordinary. Don't believe me, go and take a look at the kind of swing and seam he got when he played India. Now, he does not look like a test bowler. Is someone asking for disciplinary action against Johnson for fierce bowling. Where were you when India played at the Wanderers? At that time it was fun. Now, SA must prepare wickets to save its batsmen.

Posted by wapuser on (February 18, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

Vernon number 1 pace man? ( how about Afridi then) guys he is number one bowler dats it..... if Ojha & Rahul Sharma ( forget Aswin & Sir Jadeja) get a chance to play 15 tests on rank turners they too would be no1 bowlers on earth ..... Mitch is a revolution ( Dennis Lillee.. Who? A bowler who cant bowl/ dont know how to bowl in sub. Continet) Mitch is a real class.....

Posted by on (February 18, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

Po@ R_U_4_REAL_NICK - You said "Interesting the implied similarities between Amla+KP; I'd never have thought so, "I don't remember Amla having that same impulsiveness to hook/pull"

It's not the hook or pull Siddle is making comparisons to.

Siddle was meaning the way they use their wrists to whip the ball away - often off the stumps.

They looked to get KP caught as per Bailey a couple of times and if he misses, LBW.

It seems they have similar plans for Amla.

Posted by on (February 18, 2014, 16:36 GMT)

@ Srikumar Narayan - You said "Shudder to think what the Aussie attack would be when Mich goes away."

If you haven't yet heard of blokes by the name of Cummins, Stark, Hazelwood, Bird, Pattison etc, you will in the near future.

I suspect like you, some batsmen around the world will shudder too.

Posted by Ragav999 on (February 18, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

"That's something we looked at. Even though Amla and Pietersen do look different with their technique, the way to get them out is very similar," Siddle said.

This is the brilliant quote of this interview and it had me laughing. It is almost as if Siddle is in a classroom giving a lecture.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 18, 2014, 16:19 GMT)

philander d waste bowler i have seen

Posted by yoohoo on (February 18, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

South African Team is not the top test team it is billed out to be anymore. Those days are long gone. You could see that even when they struggled to win the series against an inexprienced Indian team at home last series.

Against this aussie team, with Johnson in prime form, they have no chance.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 18, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

Sometimes attack is the best defence; the Australian's are doing to Philander what they did to Swann during the Ashes: attacking him & not allowing him to settle. Do bare in mind that at least one of the dropped chances last game was off Philander's bowling, so it can all go both ways in cricket.

Interesting the implied similarities between Amla+KP; I'd never have thought so, although it's been a while since seeing Amla play. I don't remember Amla having that same impulsiveness to hook/pull, so is this just a play on words from Siddle to rattle a few cages?

Faf was rather unlucky last game I suppose: brute of a delivery from a fired-up Johnson first innings that would have struck most batsmen in the face, followed by a 'daisy-cutter' in the second innings that had had the players checking the pitch for a discarded set of car keys or something. Certainly got a good send-off from Johnson! Surprised no disciplinary action (warning) there...

Game 2: Relax Philander; let ball do work!

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 18, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

I've wondered for a while now how this guy gets wickets.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 15:50 GMT)

Shudder to think what the Aussie attack would be when Mich goes away. Same for SA. An attack without Styn is unthinkable. But Aussies have abetter back up than SA. On the whole Aussies are better placed. No doubt. Let's see how SA fares in the second test.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

Philander should always pitch the ball up in that 5-6 meter length irrespective of the ball being new or old. That's when he is dangerous. I can't imagine why he resorts to a 7-8 meter length 90% of the time nowadays?? That is the prime reason why he is not getting wickets thereby putting his team under pressure. I don't know why such a simple fact is not getting noticed by Allan Donald. Why doesn't Pollock talk to Vernon after his commentary sessions in which he insists on the 5-6 meter length? Even Steyn should ball in 5-6 meter length with the occasional short/short of length ball..

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

"A bloke averaging over 50 does leave a big hole". One averaging over 55, and in the all time top 15 test batsmen (by average) even more so, if anything. When you add nearly 300 test wickets at under 33 and 200 catches that's a sinkhole.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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