Philander's six-for guides South Africa to 1-0 lead
By Krunal Gandhi, MyCricketHighlights Writer
1st Test: South Africa vs India at Newlands, Cape Town, Jan 05 - 09, 2018, Cricket highlights
Even on Day 4 of the Cape Town Test, the ball continued to dominate the bat as bowlers from both the sides wrecked havoc on the pitch that had spiced up again after the relentless rain yesterday. First up, it was the Indian bowling attack, led by Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, who bowled South Africa out for 130 in their second innings. They took all the remaining 8 wickets in the morning session itself and presented a really good opportunity for India to win the match.
The target of 208 wasn’t a big one, but it was certainly a challenging one against a potent South African attack on a lively pitch. India were off to a much better start than the first innings, as the openers put 30 runs on the board without losing a wicket. Murali Vijay, who looked a bit edgy against Philander, survived a couple of close calls because of DRS. But India’s luck quickly ran out as first, Morkel and then Philander, struck in successive overs to get rid of both the Indian openers.
Cheteshwar Pujara, too, got out in quick succession and in no time, India were 3 down for just 39 runs on the board. At this stage, the 208-run target seemed like a mountain to climb for the Indians.
Partnership was the need for the hour for the visitors, which wasn’t an easy task on this surface. In fact, the highest partnership registered by both the teams in their second innings was 52 (South Africa) and 49 (India). Under the circumstances, Virat and Rohit tried batting positively, but they couldn’t add more than 32 runs to the total as the former was caught plumb in front on the bowling of Philander.
Vern was the slowest of the three fast bowlers available on the park. Yet, he was the most effective. The accuracy and consistency with which he bowled made life difficult for the Indian batsmen. There was hardly any loose bowl offer and he kept bowling in that corridor of uncertainty time and again. If for some reason, the edge is not found, he forces the batsmen to play false shots by keeping the pressure on. He got Rohit out in a similar fashion as the batsman played away from his body and got an inside edge back onto the stumps.
After Philander got those two out, it was Rabada’s time to show his prowess. He first dismissed Hardik Pandya and then got rid of Wriddiman Saha at the stroke of Tea. Rabada can even thank Pandya for gifting his wicket away. The batsman poked at a wide delivery outside off-stump, which flew to ABD at gully, who took a fantastic catch to complete the dismissal.
From 71 for 3, India had suffered another collapse and were now reeling at 82 for 7. The Proteas needed just 3 more wickets to win the match. But they were made to wait a little bit longer before they could taste victory.
It was the pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who added 49 runs for the 8th wicket and incited some interest in the one-sided contest. The target was still a long way away, but these two had ignited a few hopes again. However, those hopes were quickly laid to rest by Philander, who took the all-important wicket of Ashwin (37). He took only three more balls to bowl India out as he picked up the last two wickets and helped South Africa to accomplish a 72-run win. Philander also registered his best figures in Test cricket (6/42) and was duly rewarded with the Man of the Match award for his spellbinding performance.