Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa pace bowler Vernon Philander has announced that he is looking to do as much damage as he can with the new ball during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Philander also noted that pace bowlers can thrive in spin-friendly conditions if they bowl the right line and length, and encourage the batsmen to keep playing shots.
“The more damage you can do with the new ball the better,” Philander said. “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, who recently recovered from a viral infection that ruled him out of the third ODI in Hambantota, is also looking to get some swing off the pitch since there have been occasional showers in the last few days.
“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 added that he was confident that veteran Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath would not be able to get the better of the South African batsmen.
Herath has the second-highest number of wickets at Galle with 48 and only trails legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 111 wickets at the venue.
“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.”