‘It would be a totally different ball game’ if the Wanderers pitch was faster, says Vernon Philander

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

“I think this wicket is pretty slow and they’ve obviously had time to adjust and get in”

With India firmly in control at the end of the third day of the first Test in Johannesburg, South Africa pace bowler Vernon Phiander has announced that if the pitch at the Wanderers was much faster, then “it would be a totally different ball game”.

Philander’s comments come after India’s batting duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli amassed an unbeaten 191-run partnership.

“Don’t be fooled,” Philander said. “I think this wicket is pretty slow and they’ve obviously had time to adjust and get in.

“If it had to be a quicker wicket like we had in the ODI game it would be a totally different ball game.”

However, with a little reluctance, Philander lauded India’s performance, saying: “I think they’ve played well. Well done to them.”

Philander believes that the weather and South Africa’s lacklustre bowling are the two main reasons why the Proteas are struggling to take any wickets.

“This morning and yesterday when they bowled, there was overcast conditions which made the ball do a few more [things] on occasions and I think when we came out this afternoon [to bowl], the sun was brightly out again,” he said. “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.

“I think that is something we didn’t do well in the first innings, we did it a bit better in the second innings.”

Philander, with a wry smile on his face, finished off by saying that everyone in the South African dressing room was hoping for the heavens to open up.

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