South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Test, Cape Town 1st day January 2, 2013

Philander shoots out New Zealand for 45


South Africa 252 for 3 (Petersen 103*, Amla 66, Kallis 60) lead New Zealand 45 (Philander 5-7, Morkel 3-14) by 207 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A wonderfully-crafted new-ball spell from Vernon Philander, which brought him five wickets in six overs, set the tone for a wholly embarrassing day for New Zealand as they careered to the third-lowest Test score in their history, and the lowest Test total since 1974, in a contest which wasted no time in giving the impression of a mismatch.

The New Zealand innings, undermined initially by Philander's excellence, but increasingly defeatist as it progressed, lasted only 19.2 overs as they were bowled out in the first session. Lunch was still 19 minutes away when Daniel Flynn made a hash of a pull at Dale Steyn to be the last man out, leaving New Zealand no nearer to finding a semblance of stability following the controversial sacking of Ross Taylor from the captaincy.

It was a gorgeous day at Newlands, and a capacity crowd soaked up the sunshine and relished the sight of South African domination.

South Africa lost their captain, Graeme Smith, in two overs leading up to lunch, but the mastery established by Philander was equally apparent with the bat. Alviro Petersen helped himself to a measured, unbeaten Test hundred to underline his growing maturity. Hashim Amla purred along much as he pleased against optimistically attacking fields, extending his repertoire on occasions as if to stave off boredom and making 66 from 74 balls, before he wandered blithely across his stumps against James Franklin and suffered for his presumption.

Statistical landmarks, though, fell elsewhere. Dale Steyn reached 300 Test wickets in his 61st Test before lunch and became the fourth South African to do so, following Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini. Then came another redoubtable figure, Jacques Kallis, who joined Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid as makers of 13,000 Test runs. He briefly gorged himself on the New Zealand attack in the unconcerned manner of a king used to more exacting feats before departing with many potential courses left uneaten.

This has been one of the sorriest interludes in New Zealand cricket, with allegations of dishonesty and former players burning blazers, but when the real business - Test cricket - returned, matters became even worse as New Zealand were humbled by a mighty South Africa pace attack.

Philander's method was simple and clinical as he maintained impeccable accuracy and found just enough assistance to be persistently threatening. Martin Guptill, Dean Brownlie and BJ Watling edged to wicketkeeper or slips, New Zealand's brusque new captain, Brendon McCullum, was bowled off an inside edge trying to cover the outswing and Kane Williamson fell lbw after his recourse to DRS proved unsuccessful.

There was nothing manifestly disturbing about Philander, no trepidation caused by express pace or even lavish movement, but conditions were lively enough and he lulled a somewhat naïve New Zealand batting line-up into error, killing with kindness, a technician takinbg advantage of indeterminate footwork. It took South Africa a long time to recognise his subtle talents and he is making up for lost time.

He returned new-ball figures of 6-3-7-5, quite a feat for a bowler who had been doubtful for this Test after tweaking a hamstring a fortnight ago and who was described by Smith, his captain, on the eve of the Test as "provisionally fit". New Zealand will be provisionally judged to be out of their depth and the two-Test series will be provisionally held to be over.

All this delayed, if not entirely overshadowed, Steyn's move to 300 Test wickets. He went unrewarded in his opening spell while Philander wreaked havoc, but switched to the Wynberg End for his second spell and with his third ball bowled Doug Bracewell with a delivery that swung away to hit off stump.

The last thing New Zealand needed was a difficult decision at the toss, but that was what McCullum faced in his first Test in charge since the removal of Taylor. The pitch was green, if not especially so, and certainly not as green as the New Zealand batsmen. It would have been tempting for New Zealand captains of the old school to feel their way into the Test by having a bowl. Instead, McCullum took the assertive route, as is his style, and his team was found entirely wanting.

In cricketing terms, McCullum's decision was justifiable. There were enough cracks in a pitch dried out by the strong winds of recent days to dissuade McCullum from batting last and, if he looked upwards, he found a stunning Cape Town morning, with Table Mountain shimmering under cloudless blue skies. All they had to do was survive a session. Instead, Philander's lissom skills soon took their toll.

He had a wicket with the last ball of his first over, an outswinger edged by Guptill. There were two more wickets in his third over; a good-length ball caused McCullum to play on and Brownlie fell third ball for nought. It was a limp shot from Brownlie who was batting in Taylor's spot at No. 4 (a spot where Taylor made 142 and 74 in his last two Test innings, against Sri Lanka in Colombo), one that was hardly designed to fill New Zealand with a sense of feelgood.

Philander was unlikely to be given a long spell considering the creeping doubts about his fitness, but he made the most of his limited timespan. Williamson, after having the temerity to drive him down the ground, fell lbw to the last ball of his fourth over and BJ Watling fell to probably the best ball of the lot when the first delivery of his fifth over again found the edge. Morne Morkel preyed upon the tail.

Kallis and Steyn's historic moments will mean that much of the attention will rest upon them. But this is only Philander's third Test at Newlands and he already has 19 wickets at 9.73. He loves Test cricket and he loves nowhere more than Newlands.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip on January 4, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Watching the telecast today (over 54), I heard it said in commentary that on the Australian tour, some Australian commentators were amazed that Vernon Philander could extract such assistance from a pitch with a (relatively) short frame. I maintain that Australians have become too obsessed with the height of their pacemen, amongst other things, and that South Africa has the balance right. I do not believe that Philander would have been so successful as an Australian for two reasons - his comparatively unremarkable U19 career, a supposed lack of height and a supposed lack of pace would have meant he would have been unlikely to have granted the time to show his full worth. That is why South Africa is number one and Australia is not. They do not appear to rely on one or two recipes-for-success and, thus, do not put all their eggs in the one basket. Interestingly, I understand that a South African won the national final of the speed comp for grade bowlers held during lunch at Sydney today.

  • Talha on January 3, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    NZ should now hire talented youth cricketers from other nations and give the opportunity to play for NZ.

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Salman you ignored England winning in Pakistan 1-0 in 2000 and a Test in Lahore (which you'd never lost in before). We were considered the WORST team in the world at that point!! Of course we also won in Sri Lanka 2-1 the same winter (having gone 1-0 down) againt what was one of the strongest SL sides ever!!

  • Dru on January 3, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    Dont really know if this makes sense but ever since Vernon has showed up Steyn has been somewhat (dare I say) ineffective! I know its an almost insane thing to say about the best bowler in the world but here we see it again - perfect conditions for fast bowling and Steyn knocked off two tailenders while Vernon polished off the top 5. NZ were poor (thats actually mild) but how good was Vernon - he was practically unplayable and moves the ball just enough. May be that is Steyn's issue - he does too much with the ball. SA were actually awesome with the bat too as that wicket wasnt the easiest to bat on - even the last ball of the day swung away beautifully and all credit to SA and NZ unfortunately is looking for rain and draw at best.

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    You guys can't have it both ways, if Philander is not so good because the pitches are bowler friendly, then Kallis is the best ever for achieving a higher career average than Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Lara while playing half his test matches on these same bowler friendly wickets. Yet I find that people want to steal recognition from both of these players at the same time, which is a logical contradiction. If philander is not the best because of bowler friendly conditions, then you have to acknowledge that Kallis is the best., if you say that Kallis is not the best, then you have to retract your statements about Philander being helped by the pitch.

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @ English Cricket! Lol!Like the saffas showed u, ur true place, where u belong in the previous english summer.

  • Jon on January 3, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Even though things are bad, there are steps that can be taken now to start turning things around at home. Step one is to fire John Buchanan. Just take the hit and pay him out - we need to be rid of him (and David White). We should turn to someone like Martin Sneddon to run the NZC.

    I'd ask Hesson to step down the moment he steps off the plane from South Africa. He's in way over his head and his handling of Taylor's captaincy has damaged the side so much that his position has become untenable.

    We should look at Steve Rixon, who is currently Australia's fielding coach. Offer him the coaching job for 3-4 years beginning with the upcoming England series. Bond can coach the bowlers and Martin Crowe can be the batting coach.

    Lastly we need to get the best team on the field. Taylor, Ryder, Southee, Ronchi and Vettori need to come into the playing group - McCullum, Brownlie and Patel should not play in the England series.

  • Rohan on January 3, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Way to go NZ for making Philander look like a world beater again! Just give up playing big time already and stick to playing the hapless Zimbabs for an even contest!

  • Terry on January 3, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Even just looking at performance then SA, Eng & Aust can all beat each other. Ind, Srl & Pak can beat each other and be competitive against top three. WI & NZ can be competitive against middle three and beat each other. Bang & Zimb can beat each other and both pushed WI/NZ recently. Ireland has been competitive against Bang & Zimb, so has Afgan, Holland and others. Its time for a two tier system, being top six and next six with four tests against each team every two years (eg: two home, two away = 2 months) + ODI & T20s that are scheduled in the gaps. With relegation every two years and ICup matches only lasting two years, all 106 teams in the world would have a chance to be number one in test cricket by winning matches, not by boardroom barganing.

  • Patrick on January 3, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    A few misconceptions here. @Soso_killer -The D/L method was not in use in the 1992 World Cup. Another rule for recalculating targets in rain affected games was used.

    @whofriggingcares - the test in which Australia were all out for 47 was won by South Africa. Scores were Australia 284 and 47; South Africa 96 and 236/2. You are probably conflating the two tests in that series, the second of which was won by Australia.