Big Vern races to 100 test wickets

2013-12-20 13:03

India: 280 and 31/1 (Dhawan 15, Vijay 12*, Philander 1/18)

South Africa: 244 all out (Smith 68, Philander 59, Ishant Sharma 4/79, Zaheer Khan 4/88)

India lead by 67 runs

Vernon Philander became the fastest South African to take 100 test wickets as the visitors built on their first-innings lead of 36.

He overtook Dale Steyn, who achieved the feat in 20 tests, with Philander getting there in 19.

The relentless Philander had the struggling Shikhar Dhawan caught at second slip in the eighth over, with Philander making a hundred gesture towards the dressing room.

It reduced India to 23/1 as they had accrued a lead of 36. That was down to another spell of superb swing bowling by Zaheer Khan, who swept aside the South African tail, which only added 31 to the overnight total.

Tails being swept away in this game has been the norm and as competent as South Africa’s one is, they were never going to be a match for Khan and Sharma.

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara managed to survive the testing session in the face of accurate and disciplined bowling, even though Dale Steyn struggled to find his rhythm.

Earlier this morning, Philander reached a deserved third test 50 off just 77 balls, the innings being the cornerstone of South Africa’s recovery from 146/6 the previous evening.

But he was also the first to perish to a Khan outswinger from around the wicket. This time, though, Ravichandran Ashwin’s hands were safe. A brute of a bouncer from Ishant Sharma did Dale Steyn in, only managing to guide it to Rohit Sharma at second slip. Much was expected from Faf du Plessis after he played the stonewalling foil to the bellicose Philander.

His 77-ball stay only produced 20 runs as he became Khan’s third victim, also succumbing to the outswinger from around the wicket. MS Dhoni’s gloves are not as butterfingered as those of his fellow slip fielders. Morkel was Khan’s fourth victim – bowled after attempting an agricultural shot.

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