Viljoen's dream start to Test cricket

Hardus Viljoen (Gallo Images)
Hardus Viljoen (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Hardus Viljoen hit England's all-time leading Test wicket taker for four on the first ball he faced before dismissing England's all-time leading run scorer with the first ball he bowled on Friday.

You don't get a much better start to an international career, and the wicket of Alastair Cook will forever be etched into the 26-year-old's memory.

But it wasn't all fairy-tales for the debutant, whose next 10.5 over saw him card 0/57.

Viljoen had to wait until the 11th over to get his hands on the ball, and the delivery that got Cook out and set his home Wanderers crowd alight was by no means his best.

The England captain tickled it down the leg side to Dane Vilas, and Viljoen was away. 

"For me it was a dream start to get a wicket first ball … I would have liked to get him nicked off on the off side, but they say every one counts," Viljoen said after the day's play.

"It’s still unreal. Obviously got a bit of adrenaline pumping and nerves … lucky enough to get a wicket first ball and I just felt that settled the nerves.

"There was definitely no plan there. For me I was just happy to get some bat on that … it worked out perfectly."

On his first ball boundary against James Anderson, Viljoen said that he had been as concentrated as he possibly could be.

"When you’re facing a quality attack … I just told myself to watch the ball the whole time and to get a full toss first ball settled quite nicely," he said.

Despite the Proteas and Viljoen going through a rough patch against Ben Stokes (58) and Joe Root (106*), Viljoen still sees the match as very evenly poised.

"In any Test match you get your teams that go through phases and play well in different situations," he said.

"I think it’s how you come back from that and I think we fought back pretty well. It’s still far from over so I think we’re in a pretty good position."

England will start day three on 238/5, 75 runs behind South Africa's first innings total of 313.

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