Former Proteas all-rounder Vernon Philander says there was plenty to be excited about as a Proteas fan following their impressive victory over India in the second Betway Test match. South Africa beat the tourists by seven wickets late on day four at Imperial Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday to ensure the Freedom Series was level at 1-1 – and setting up a decider for the final Test in Cape Town.

The hosts had lost the opening match by 113 runs at SuperSport Park in Centurion, but put that defeat behind them with a wonderful win at the Bullring, their first over India at the venue in five attempts.

Chasing 240 for victory, captain Dean Elgar lead the way with an unbeaten 96, with meaningful contributions all round. “We’ve always been known to be slow starters, but the way the boys bounced back after losing the toss as well was excellent,” Philander said of the win. “There was a lot of expectations on the bowlers to bowl India out and they did that. I thought they bowled phenomenally well in partnerships.

“They probably started a little bit slow in the second innings and may have been disappointed with the areas they hit. They could have been trying too hard and in the process afforded India more opportunities than they would have expected.

“There was something in the wicket as we saw and had they been more patient, they could have
probably bowled India out even cheaper, but over giving yourself something around the 200 mark, we would have always taken that in the last innings.” Amongst the most impressive elements for Philander were the batting intent by the Proteas in their fourth-innings chase. They were positive from the start and caught India out in many respects. “It was probably the best batting performance I’ve seen from the Proteas in a while,” Philander said. “The guys were really clinical, and I think the way Dean lead with the bat was phenomenal.

“Also the mindset made a huge difference. I think in the first innings the boys were a bit tentative, maybe a bit on the defensive side of things.

“But if you look at the second innings we saw some clear intent, the guys were looking to score quicker and you could see the difference it made in demeanour, in body language and the sort of
surprise it gave the India bowlers, who wouldn’t have expected the South Africans to come out and attack as they did.

“It makes a massive difference when you just come out and just allow the bowler to bowl at you
compared to showing positive intent like they did. The way they batted was proper.”

Philander, who took 224 wickets for South Africa in 64 Tests and scored nearly 2000 runs, was also happy to see Keegan Petersen record his maiden 50 at international level. It was a key innings and one that helped Elgar led the team to victory.


He continued: “I was very chuffed for Keegan Petersen as well. We’ve all been praising him for his
technique and the way he looked in his career so far. To his credit, he’s only been playing on tough wickets since his debut. It’s an important innings for him.

“I was there once and you feel part of that set-up once you contribute. So now with that 60-odd
knock behind him, he will feel a lot more comfortable and confident. It will be a massive boost.”

There was also special mention for Elgar and Kagiso Rabada, who claimed six wickets in the match. “We have to signal out Dean and the way he batted all the way through,” Philander said. “He made sure he stayed in a built partnerships with the other batters around him.

“Then with the ball we can’t not mention KG and that one spell where he turned the game upside
down after lunch. In a series like this against a strong India team, you’re going to need bowlers to
deliver spells like those that break the game open completely.

The series now moves to Cape Town for the decisive Test that starts next Tuesday.

“I don’t think there’s much between the two teams going into Cape Town,” Philander added. “The
last Test would have given South Africa a massive boost on all fronts.

“Very often that is all that you need, one win as a team to give you that confidence and momentum. They will feel they now have that behind them and they can go on to win the series. “Coming to Newlands, one of our favourite hunting grounds, I’m really looking forward to the final Test. It’s going to be a cracker.

The third Betway Test takes place from 11 – 15 January at Six Gun Grill Newlands. The series is being broadcast live on SuperSport, SABC and Radio 2000.

Betway Test Series | Freedom Series


South Africa:

Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma (vice-captain), Kagiso Rabada, Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Keegan Peterson, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (wicket-keeper), Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Duanne Olivier.


Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank
Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-
keeper), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah,
Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj


1st Betway Test: South Africa lost to India by 113 runs at SuperSport Park, Centurion 2nd Betway Test: South Africa beat India by 7 wickets at Imperial Wanderers, Johannesburg 3rd Betway Test: 11 – 15 January at Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town