South Africa v India, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 3rd day December 20, 2013

Conditions have favoured India - Philander


Expected tough day after Morkel injury - Philander

India have had two centurions in this Test, put up four fifty-plus partnerships - with their ongoing one currently at 191 - and posted the highest total of the match so far. With those numbers, it would be safe to assume that they've silenced those who claimed that they were scared of South African conditions. Not according to Vernon Philander.

"Don't be fooled. I think this wicket is pretty slow and they've obviously had time to adjust and get in," he said. "If it had to be a quicker wicket like we had in the ODI game it would be a totally different ball game." A little grudgingly, perhaps, he gave them some credit. "I think they've played well. Well done to them."

The Wanderers track is known to be one of the more hostile ones in South Africa, and is expected to test the true measure of subcontinent batsmen. It has good pace and carry, can generate steep bounce, and is where South Africa's attack is comfortable. It did all of those things again with the added variation of the odd one keeping low and the bounce becoming variable, but India's line-up, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara in particular, met the challenge with success.

Philander put that down to two things - the changing weather and South Africa's bowling. He explained that South Africa had the more testing batting conditions. "This morning and yesterday when they bowled, there was overcast conditions which made the ball do a few more stuff on occasions and I think when we came out this afternoon [to bowl], the sun was brightly out again."

He also blamed the way South Africa bowled, in comparison to the way the visiting pack operated. "They bowled pretty well. They attacked the stumps all the time and when a new batter got in they were at the bat all the time," he said. "I think that is something we didn't do well in the first innings, we did it a bit better in the second innings."

Ishant Sharma agreed that India had been more incisive than South Africa, possibly due to a better strategy. "I think everyone has a different plan, and maybe they thought they were going to bowl outside off stump," he said. "We were going to bowl into stumps because there will be more help if you bowl into the stumps."

With India's batsmen making the pitch look docile, South Africa may have hopes of staging an Adelaide-style rescue effort. Against Australia, South Africa survived a day and a half with Faf du Plessis registering his maiden century as they frustrated Australia with a draw.

Although Philander joked that South Africa would welcome rain, he also hoped they can "push India off their plans". He admitted the camp is "obviously quite down now", but remained hopeful that if the sun comes out, they could stage another survival.

Ishant, though, doesn't think there's too much chance of that happening. "Obviously cracks are opening up and it's going to be a little up and down if you are bowling into stumps," he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Looks like Vern was correct after all.

  • Android on December 21, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    the body language of south African bowlers on the first day suggested that they were about to bowl out India under 100.. these are typical south african conditions with seam movement, bounce, pace, everything in the wicket.. philander should admit that the Indian batsmen especially virat kohli are fearless attacking players. virat showed them why he is considered to b the most prolific batsman today..

  • Pankaj on December 21, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Dear Brother Vernon, In spite of your faithful assertion, today three wickets have gone down to deliveries which have deviated from their trajectory in a way no bowler can claim or replicate. The remainder batsmen of the visitors do not know where to put their bats in defence. And none of your bowlers has been celebrating a well-thought plan. You still think the wicket is doing nothing? God be with you when you chase something in the vicinity of 400. Even on belters it has been known to be difficult. I shall watch your future progress with considerable interest, as Sir Pelham Wodehouse was apt to say. More so when you come to Asian and Middle East countries.

  • Arvind on December 21, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    Excellent analysis by Philander, and he has set up a precedent which other teams can use. Imagine the horror when Cook has to face the media after getting whitewashed 5-0 in a couple of weeks. No worries, just declare that "conditions favoured Australia when they bowled, and did not favour us when we bowled." Problem solved! So easy.

  • Raghu on December 21, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Is there any worst place to be in cricketing world, it is being part of Indian batting line-up. Give enough credit to Indian batsmen the way they applied themselves on this wicket in the first innings and in the second. The temperament shown against good fast bowling spells is incredible considering their inexperience in test arena and came up with strategy that out foxed SA seamers in the first innings. They exploited the weak link( spin ) in the opposition bowling, which did not allow build pressure from the other end.

    What's good from bowling unit is they are not gonna wait for second new ball but can reverse and rip through opposition middle order. Good signs! Hope they blossom and go long!

    Coming to vernon's view, given the enough sunshine cracks widen up even more, that is not gonna good either for batsmen! At the end of the day you got to accept how well Opposition batsmen played! Remember this pitch gonna be tough for new batsmen and set batsmen have to do the job!

  • joe on December 21, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    What a pity. I just can't for Aus to tour SA and show the world that who is the boss.

  • Senthil on December 21, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    "Don't be fooled. I think this wicket is pretty slow!!!

    1. Then how can Steyn can clock over 147 Kmph? He doesn't normally bowl more then 140k's. Even in his battle with Sachin in 2011 Capetown test he was from 137k's to 141k's.

    2. How the ball is still wobbling around even after 50 overs old ball? Also after the ball change, Steyn got to swing away immediately. Even after 50 overs old ball, some balls are able to beat the bat from the set batsman.

    3. If the pitch is really slow, why there is not many driving? I can see only 3 fours through the extra cover and Mid off region, which makes the pitch is not easy to drive and the batsman were disciplined enough to not to go for the drive.

    4. We will see, what excuse you are coming up with when you were being bundled by the Indian bowlers once again?

    Philander is a decent bowler, who has the discipline to bowl around 4th to 5th stump line and expects the pitch to remaining things. But whenever he doesn't get assistance he is exposed

  • wasib on December 21, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    South Africa have definitely missed a trick by not playing an all seam attack against India especially at home. The Indian batsmen are the world's best at playing any kind of spin bowling. They can make world class spinners like Ajmal and Narine look ordinary.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    I find so many things wrong with his comment that it's hard to know where to begin. Firstly, mate these are your home conditions, so you know best how to adapt according to the conditions. Secondly, if you are blaming the conditions, then mentally you guys are weak even or have been weakened these past two days by India. Thirdly, if anything it's india coming in with almost no practice matches who should be complaining. Fourthly, great players adapt to conditions. McGrath never complained about the conditions when playing in the sub-continent. He knew his strengths and he stuck to them and it used to pay off, he used to bowl cross seamed deliviries that is called adaptation. Fifthly, it's not like India scored at five an over from the beginning of their second innings. They struggled, yet the fought and never gave up. So don't say the track is flat and it was sunny. Sixthly, mate you shouldn't be doing press conferences any more cause you just aint got the character to be a sport.

  • allen on December 21, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Conditions Favoured India?????? Are u member of No.1 Team????? And Don't think His comment about rain is "JOKE", I bet He and Rest of the SA Team looks up the sky and expect rain... Don't Forgot, when Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first, he said, its a kind of pitch where you should first get yourself settle in and start scoring. Its is definitely the game plan to leave the balls outside half and attack the lose balls on the pads. And Vijay... Goodness Gracious Me!!!! He has shown them the key how to play test cricket.. He literally saved the Indian Middle-Order from early exposure to the New Ball in both Innings..

    Probably, Indian's Looks More Responsible than before when there are seniors around.

    I'm not a big fan of Dhoni. But Man, He definitely Put his money on his team with the Perfect Game Plan to see of the bowling when new to crease and attack later.