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