South Africa in Sri Lanka 2014

Philander targets new-ball damage

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 14, 2014

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Vernon Philander tests out his hamstring injury during training, Cape Town, December 30, 2012
Philander: "You need to sit on that off-stump line, and make sure you get the lbw into the game" © Gallo Images
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South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander believes the key to succeeding in Sri Lankan conditions lies in picking up wickets while the ball is still new. Philander, on his first Test tour of Sri Lanka, feels that seam bowlers can fetch wickets in spin-friendly surfaces by maintaining a simple off-stump line and making the batsmen play.

"The more damage you can do with the new ball the better," Philander said on Monday in Galle two days before the first Test. "You want batsmen five, six and seven batting against a newish nut. In these conditions you want to be striking with the new ball, our lines upfront need to get the batsmen to play.

"I wouldn't really say that lengths change, its more the line of attack. You need to sit on that off-stump line, and make sure you get the lbw into the game, the wider ball becomes the nick-off. Hopefully we can adjust really quickly and assess conditions accordingly."

Philander said he had recovered from the viral infection that ruled him out of the third ODI in Hambantota on Saturday. If he makes the starting XI, it will be his first Test in the subcontinent. Since his Test debut in 2011, Philander has played the majority of his 23 Tests at home in South Africa and toured England, Australia and New Zealand. He played two Tests in the UAE last year - his first Test series in Asia - where he picked up six wickets in two games.

Spinners have performed well in Galle but Philander was hopeful of getting some swing, given the occasional showers.

"There is a bit of moisture and overhead conditions around which will favour the swing bowlers," he said. "We have to wait and see what the deck looks like tomorrow and on the morning of the Test."

Philander was also confident his team would be able to negate the threat of Sri Lanka's lead spinner Rangana Herath, who has 48 wickets at this ground, the second-highest behind Muttiah Muralitharan (111).

"Spin is always a factor when you come to the subcontinent. That's why they prepare wickets to suit their bowlers," Philander said. "He (Herath) is going to be a big threat, but our batsmen played him quite well in the last one-dayer in Hambantota, so hopefully we can continue to do so. I'd like to see our guys stepping up against the spinners and playing them to the best of their abilities."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by HennopsRiverEnd on (July 15, 2014, 13:54 GMT)

@Vaughanographic. On unresponsive pitches extra pace is a better bet, hence picking Parnell over Abbott. if Philander can nip a few off the pitch with the new ball and get 1 or 2 wickets up front then that would be great.

Posted by Vaughanographic on (July 15, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

Not sure about Parnell but Abbot is a similar bowler to Philander with a yard or 2 more pace. If Big Vern proves ineffective I would be tempted to go with him

Posted by HennopsRiverEnd on (July 15, 2014, 6:18 GMT)

On sub-continent pitches you'd be tempted to start Parnell ahead of Philander but this guy's record is too good to drop him. he deserves a chance to prove himself in the sub-continent

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (July 15, 2014, 5:46 GMT)

This will be the litmus test for Philander being in the Sub Continent. He has an excellent record around the world but is untested in the sub-continent. If he has success in Sri Lanka, it would be another feather in his cap.

Posted by Beertjie on (July 14, 2014, 21:20 GMT)

With all the lefties in the team, Dilruwan Perreira will likely be as key as Herath! Getting through 3/4/5 Vern? Dream on!

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