SA in New Zealand

Philander races to 50 wickets

2012-03-26 07:41
Vernon Philander (Gallo Images)

Wellington - Vernon Philander took 6-81 to help South Africa dismiss New Zealand for 275 - one run more than their follow-on target - on the fourth day of the third Test on Monday.

Philander stirred memories of cricket's distant past when he reached his 50th Test wicket in only his seventh match, quicker than any player in 116 years. He passed the milestone quicker than all but one player in the history of Tests.

South Africa raced to 75 without loss in 15 overs before stumps, with Alviro Petersen 38 not out and Graeme Smith on 34, to hold an overall led of 274 with 98 overs remaining on Tuesday's final day.

South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the second Test at Hamilton by nine wickets.

Philander's rush to 50 wickets emulated the feats of a much earlier era of Test cricket.

Charlie "Terror" Turner achieved the milestone feat in his sixth Test for Australia in 1888 and went on to take 101 wickets in 17 Tests at an average of 16.

Tom Richardson of England claimed his 50th wicket in his seventh Test in 1896 and Philander matched his mark on Monday, though in a much shorter time frame.

Richardson took two years, 303 days to play seven Tests; Philander has done so in only four months. He has also maintained an average that challenges Turner's and those of the best players in the game.

He has taken 21 wickets in the current three-Test series against New Zealand at an average of 14 and 51 wickets in his career at only 13.8.

"Obviously, since I started things have been going my way and, I've said it before, bowling form is just like batting form and you've got to make it count," Philander said. "That's what I'm trying to do.

"It's good to claim accolades. It's difficult to compare things between now and 1888," he added. "I'm glad for this achievement and hopefully I can just go from strength to strength and be good for the team."

Philander bowled Doug Bracewell for a duck to claim his 50th Test wicket and also to fill out the sixth five-wicket bag of his career, then went on to dismiss Mark Gillespie for 10 to end New Zealand's innings and give South Africa a 199-run first innings lead.

Philander dismissed New Zealand openers Martin Guptill for 59 and Daniel Flynn for 45 in the morning session, breaking their defiant first wicket partnership of 86. He then cut through the middle and lower order with the second new ball as New Zealand's last six wickets fell for 56 runs.

"It was a good effort from the bowling unit and you need other guys to set it up for you," Philander said. "That gives me the freedom to strike.

"I put a fair amount of time into planning but most of the time is just hard work. I've worked incredibly hard enhancing the skill I have at the moment and I'd obviously like to keep it going for the next year, two years."

Read more on:    proteas  |  sa in nz  |  vernon philander  |  cricket
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