I never said anything to Virat, claims Vernon Philander

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I never said anything to Virat, claims Vernon Philander

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SportsCafe Desk


After being accused of verbally attacking Virat Kohli post his dismissal during the first Test, SA pacer Philander has refuted any claims of any wrongdoing on his part. Philander also credited du Plessis for key dismissal of R Ashwin which helped South Africa clinch victory to lead the series 1-0.

After a bright start to the first innings, India would have favored their chances to snatch a rare victory in the African country. But a dismal batting performance in the first innings and the second meant that victory wouldn’t arrive for the Indian contingent.

Philander, who claimed six wickets in the second innings, insists that grabbing Kohli’s wicket was always crucial to the outcome of the match and the home team had a plan to get him out since the very beginning.

"Virat is a good player and an aggressive player. The key thing is to obviously keep him quiet and to make sure you set him up for the other one. Initially it was for me to keep him quiet upfront, and I always knew I had the one coming back," said Philander, who claimed a career best of 6/42 during the first Test."

"It was probably two-and-a-half overs of away-swingers and then the one back at him (Kohli). It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he is on the other side of the off-stump.

"I was not worried about his DRS review. I knew it was stone dead."  

Amidst all the chaos, Philander was accused of mouthing something in Kohli’s direction, but he was quick to dismiss such accusations as he defended himself saying, "I never said anything to Virat. It was in the spur of the moment. I just tried to spur my boys on; that's what we tend to focus on.We knew Virat was a big wicket to get, and getting him there and then I was just trying to motivate my boys."

Vernon’s 12th five-wicket haul also included the crucial wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin who put up a brave fight for the visitors down the order. Ashwin, along with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, put up a partnership of 49 runs for the eighth-wicket and with Ashwin managing to make a hard-fought 39, after they were reduced to 82 for 7.

"Just before that last over I bowled, 'Faffie' was going to bowl Morne, and I said to him, 'Listen, I'm actually warm now, so just give me one more'. Luckily it paid off." said Philander in context to the build-up to ashwin’s wicket.

The 32-year-old seamer credited his skipper Faf du Plessis for the tactics of having Quinton de Kock standing up to the stumps to get rid of Ashwin.

"You have to be open to those suggestions, but I'll have to give this one to 'Faffie' (du Plessis)," Philander said.

"Ashwin, at the time, was batting quite far out of his crease, and the wicket was a touch on the slow side and the ball was a bit older. I also felt that by pushing him back we could get all three dismissals into play."

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