Philander’s ‘forgotten’ feat

2011-11-11 12:15

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Such was the craziness of the second day’s play in the first Test at Newlands on Thursday that Vernon Philander’s significant post-isolation landmark got rather lost amidst the drama.

The 26-year-old from this city’s less-than-opulent Ravensmead community, in playing the headline role during Australia’s second-innings implosion for 47, simultaneously earned the achievement of registering the best match figures by a South African debutant in the 20-year period since the country’s return from the wilderness.

Philander, whose bustling keenness and get-it-up-to-the-bat characteristic look like making him a very useful seamer addition to the Proteas’ tour party to No 1-ranked England next year, picked up a lightning five for 15 to accompany his first-innings three for 63, giving him a game haul of 8/78 in 28 overs.

That places him 32nd in history on the overall international list, which is headed by then 19-year-old Indian leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani’s incredible 16 for 136 against West Indies in Chennai in 1988.

But he is also fifth among best South Africans, the top performer being Alfred Hall – albeit Lancashire-born – who earned 11 for 112 against England at the very same Newlands in 1923: he currently lies seventh overall.

And the Cape Cobras man has the additional satisfaction of knowing that he has been the most stellar bowling debutant for South Africa since the achievement of unity two decades back.

The closest to Philander is Lance Klusener, who had an altogether more topsy-turvy debut against India in Kolkata in 1996, first being smacked for an unflattering nought for 75 in the home team’s first innings, before being the fourth-innings match-winner with a sudden eight for 64 to give him a match analysis of eight for 139.

An interesting feature of that Test was that it wasn’t even deemed enough to earn him the man-of-the-match award: it went to current national coach Gary Kirsten for centuries in each South African innings.

Richard Snell, in South Africa’s maiden post-isolation Test against West Indies in Bridgetown, bagged four wickets in each innings for a match haul of eight for 157.


  • david.sportsman - 2011-11-11 12:37

    To ALL the Graeme Smith Critics - SHAME on you! You cannot buy class, determination, and character, and he has it all...!! Well done Biff for not disappointing me. I knew you had it in just had to find it again, as many top batters before you had to do as well...! Well done Proteas..!!

      gordon.p.jacobs - 2011-11-11 12:54

      Well done to Graeme and the team today, doesn't change the fact that any player out of form should be demoted/ dropped until their form justifies their place again. In ALL our sporting codes..

      Philip - 2011-11-11 13:44

      yeah, nice to see him returning to form after his extended patch of poor form with the bat. His century was the proverbial finger to all his critics.

      Gungets - 2011-11-11 13:48

      So, you would have dropped Sachin Tendulkar from the Indian team when he went 16 months without scoring a century?

      craig.scannell - 2011-11-11 14:14

      very well said

      Zubaier - 2011-11-11 18:38

      Wow, one good score in 5 seasons does not impress me. My son and i used to bet each other if he would make a duck or get into double digits.

      jurie.grobler - 2011-11-11 23:56

      His 5 day test average over the last 2 years is 55. He has been struggling in the one day format, but in tests he is still one of the best!

      Ian - 2011-11-12 11:40

      100%, let them eat the egg on there faces on there couches

  • myst.rackermann - 2011-11-11 12:41

    I have not watched a lot of Test Cricket in my time, but that was the best I have ever watched!! Looking forward to more. Congrats, Proteas!!

  • brian.heunis - 2011-11-11 12:57

    And surely a losing captain should return with his team.

      James - 2011-11-11 13:33

      If your significant other looked like his wife, where would you go to? To Ireland with the hottie or to face snotkops like

      brian.heunis - 2011-11-11 16:11

      James, as captain of the national cricket team it is your duty to return with your team win or lose. Coward!

  • Yvette - 2011-11-11 13:08

    If only Philander would stop chewing his gum with that open mouth, I'm sure a whole bunch of people would like him a bit more.

      desmond.joshua2 - 2011-11-11 13:33

      yvette,leave our boy yours close?

      mad.padda - 2011-11-11 14:41

      Open mouth gum chewing is a lot better than nose picking, groin scratching, spitting here there and everywhere. This is my opinion.

      roboman1 - 2011-11-12 09:04

      as long as he keeps taking wickets he can do what he wants!

      Neville - 2011-11-12 11:28

      You shut your BIG mouth

  • Grant - 2011-11-11 13:25

    How exactly has Philander's feat been "forgotten"?? What a stupid headline.

      Jock - 2011-11-11 13:47

      The match reports focused on Steyn's performance, Rudolph's failures (why focus on one guys failures, when so much more was going on?), Hamla and Smiths performance and barely mentioned Philander, despite his excellent, match-wining debut performance against the Aussies. Go read the headlines on Sport24 Aussie Tour page: - not one headline there as at 13:46

  • Sulaiman - 2011-11-11 13:46

    Who was man of the match? I would be surprised if he did not win it?

      madeleen.richardson - 2011-11-11 14:02

      He did win Man of the Match.

  • Shirley - 2011-11-11 13:48

    Philander bowled brilliantly bit the headline is very dramatic. All the commentators yesterday and today said what a huge contribution he made to the victory. As for his gum chewing-its a lot better than the spitting that most teams do! For goodness sake if chewing gum relaxes him.....??? I think it was a great TEAM effort. Congratulations to a well deserved victory!

  • granville.paulse - 2011-11-11 14:16

    And this is why I said Philander deserves his chance. MAN OF THE MATCH with a RECORD DEBUT for the PROTEAS against AUSTRALIA no less. Everything pre-unity doesn't count!!!!!!!!

  • gordon.p.jacobs - 2011-11-11 14:25

    Gungets - yes I would have dropped him. His stats would probably have looked even better today and he might have returned to form even sooner in which case he would have been put back in the team. Just because a player is dropped today doesn't mean he won't be in the team tomorrow, obviously.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2011-11-11 14:32

    Some article heading? He got man of the match, for goodness sake!

  • granville.paulse - 2011-11-11 14:32

    Congrats Vernon. Four seasons of hard work paid off. Keep going boytjie!!!!

  • shaheen.johnson - 2011-11-11 15:21

    Yet another misleading headline... Eish...

  • steven.chiaberta - 2011-11-11 16:52

    Hey Granville, our pre-isolation cricketers were not politicians and therefore they deserve just as much credit for their achievements as Philander does today. Like Vernon, they were also playing against the best in the world and some of them also achieved remarkable things. That's why I'm proud of EVERY SA sporting - and political - achievement. Let's just savour our win and look forward to the next test man!

      Shirley - 2011-11-11 17:37

      Well said.Some of those pre-isolation had a hell of a hard time with some major obstacles in their way. Their careers were stunted,and they took tons of flack for things they had no control over. Lets not turn everything into a political standoff! Savour the moment!

      granville.paulse - 2011-11-14 17:00

      Steven - A team representing a country should be the best players in that country. Pre-isolation this was not the case.

  • Pierre - 2011-11-11 18:34

    Smith might be a good player but he most certainly is the worst captrain we have ever had, unfortunately the proteas have no replacement as a captain.

  • Zubaier - 2011-11-11 18:34

    geewiz, Graeme makes a good score in probaby the last 3 seasons and he's the hero. If any other player flop a coupla games then they get dropped like a hot cake. Was Duminy in the team. It looks like they choose the team around Graeme when he should be the one making space for younger and more consistent players.

  • joyce.vanderwatt - 2011-11-11 19:55

    South Africa I am a very proud south African tonight....gogoooooooooooooooooo

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