150-up Philander back to his best

2017-01-03 20:57
Vernon Philander (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - He was the quickest South African to both 50 and 100 Test wickets, but the next 50 proved to be a lot tougher. 

On Tuesday at Newlands, Vernon Philander picked up 4/27 while picking up his 150th Test wickets for South Africa in his 39th Test. 

He took just 7 Tests to reach 50 wickets and only 19 to reach 100. 

This latest milestone looked a long shot at one point when, all the way back in November 2015, Philander tore his ankle ligaments playing football ahead of the second Test against India in Bangalore. 

What followed was a period of seven months on the sidelines. 

There had already been concerns over Philander's form going into that India series, and when he went down with what proved to be a career-threatening injury, the road back to the top began to look a difficult one. 

But Philander has been simply brilliant for South Africa since returning for last August's home series against New Zealand. 

He was immense in the 2-1 series win in Australia, and now he is doing the business against the Sri Lankans. 

It's safe to say that the 31-year-old is back to his best. 

"Being out in the field, I cherish every moment being back," Philander said from a windy Newlands after Tuesday's play.

"I know what a frustration it was being out of the game for seven or eight months. I just want to go out there and perform my best every time I get an opportunity."

And, right now, performing is exactly what Philander is doing. 

He is just the eighth South African to reach 150 Test wickets, but he is not ready to look back just yet. 

"It’s a field and a ground that I really enjoy playing my cricket at," he said.

"150 at Newlands … I couldn’t have asked for better.

"But hopefully there are still a lot of wickets to be taken in my career. I cherish each wicket that I take for my country and really just enjoy taking wickets."

Read more on:    proteas  |  vernon philander  |  cape town  |  cricket

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