Standard Bank Proteas seamer, Vernon Philander insisted that results were all that mattered after he starred with the ball to leave Sri Lanka on the ropes after two days of the second Sunfoil Test at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old took 4/27 to move past 150 Test wickets in his 39th match for South Africa as the tourists were bundled out for 110 in 43 overs, before the hosts extended their lead to 317 with all 10 second wickets intact.
Philander’s wickets took his total to 35 in six matches at the famous Cape venue.
“Coming here to the home of cricket, it’s always a good place to play and doing it at a ground I enjoy playing at,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to have taken it than at Newlands, but look, there’s a lot more wickets still to be taken in my career hopefully going forward.
“I cherish each wicket I take for my country, I just enjoy taking wickets and I want to take as many wickets as possible for my country.”
Kagiso Rabada had done the early damage for the South Africans with his 4/37, which included his 50th Test wicket.
That was followed by Philander tearing through the tail. He also removed the last two Sri Lankan wickets from consecutive deliveries, meaning he will be on a hat-trick going into the second innings.
“I'm not to fazed about that, it’s more about winning the game,” was his response about a potential hat-trick.
Keshav Maharaj also played his hand with 2/32 on a day which started with Quinton de Kock completing his third career century after he made 101 (124 balls, 11 fours).
Home captain Faf du Plessis could have enforced the follow-on, but chose not to and Philander defended the choice of the skipper.
“As a team we took a decision on what’s our best chance to win this game,” he said. “We feel that setting up the game with the bat and giving the bowlers a bit of a break, with the back-to-back Test matches and the workload we had in PE, this is the best way for us going forward and to win the game.”
Looking ahead to day three, Philander revealed they did not have a target in mind as yet, but felt they were in a strong enough position to make those calls.
“There’s a lot of time left in the Test match and it’s a bit early to say what’s a good target,” he added. “We’ll look to bat well tomorrow morning and then look at where we stand at lunch.”