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Vernon Philander reveals how he planned Virat Kohli, R Ashwin dismissals

Vernon Philander has revealed South Africa’s strategies behind the dismissals of Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin during India’s second innings of the Cape Town Test

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2018 17:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
South Africa vs India,Vernon Philander,Virat Kohli
Vernon Philander (R) picked 6/42 in India’s second innings as South Africa won the Cape Town Test by 72 runs.(BCCI)

South African seamer Vernon Philander has said it was important to keep Indian run machine Virat Kohli quiet, after he recorded his career-best figures of 6/42 in the first Test at Cape Town.

Philander ran through the famed Indian cricket team’s batting line-up on Monday to hand South Africa a critical 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, as the hosts won the first match by 72 runs.

The right-arm seamer bowled a high quality spell to Kohli who had begun settling down for a possible match-winning knock on Day Four, testing him on the channel outside off-stump and eventually surprising him by moving one back into him.

The well-thought ploy worked out well when Kohli failed to put his bat on a delivery that was aimed straight on the pads, on which he even wasted a DRS review.

Talking about the plan, Philander was quoted as saying by PTI, “Virat is a quality player, and the key thing is to keep him quiet, and make sure that we set him up with the other one. I always knew I had the one (delivery) coming back!”

“It was probably two-and-a-half overs of away-swingers and then the one back at him (Kohli). It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he is on the other side of the off-stump,” he added.

No send-off to Kohli

Perhaps knowing that sledging or aggression from the opposition is fuel for Kohli, Philander said South Africa were content keeping their joy of seeing his back for a mere 28 in India’s chase of 208 to themselves.

“I never said anything to him. It was just obviously on the spur of the moment — I just tried to spur my boys on, and that’s what we tend to focus on. We knew that Virat was a big wicket to get, and getting him right there and then, I just strived to (enjoy it with) my boys.”

“When you look at the type of score that you have to defend, 208, someone has to make the play. You can’t wait for later in the game — because there might not be a ‘later on in the game’. I knew that I had to bowl overs upfront and put us in a good position, and I just wanted to bowl and make a difference.”

Breaking Ashwin’s resistance

After India’s top and middle-order were blown away, all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar weathered the storm and tried reviving fading Indian hopes.

Their partnership did frustrate South Africa, but it was yet another ploy of bringing the wicketkeeper up to the wickets that worked. “You have to be open to those suggestions, but I’ll have to give this one to ‘Faffie’ (Faf du Plessis),” he said.

“Ashwin, at the time, was batting quite far out of his crease, and the wicket was a touch on the slow side and the ball was a bit older. I also felt that by pushing him back we could get all three dismissals into play,” he added.

Overcoming obstacles

The 32-year-old Philander said he took the criticism of being called unfit during the England tour mid 2017 personally. “I like people to be constructive and open and honest with us as players. There are two ways of taking it — you can take it personally and fade away, or you can take it on board and make a play,” he said.

“I took it a bit personally up front, you are all obviously human, but you try to get over it as quickly as possible, get better, do some work behind the scenes and come back stronger,” Philander added.

The second Test between India and South Africa begins January 13 at SuperSport Park, Centurion.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 17:35 IST