South Africa’s ace pacer Vernon Philander, who dented India with his 9-wicket haul in the first Test at Newlands, has stated that they had a plan in place to keep India skipper Virat Kohli quiet and the Proteas fiery attack executed it to perfection.
Considering the way Kohli had piled up double tons in Test cricket in the last 18 months, there were plenty of expectations from him. However, the Indian captain couldn’t last much long at the crease in the first innings as he chased a delivery from Morkel Morkel and ended up a giving an easy catch to the keeper for 5. In the second innings, Kohli was outfoxed by Philander’s in-swinger after setting him up with two-and-a-half overs of away-swingers.
"Virat is a quality player, and the key thing is to keep him quiet, and make sure that we set him up with the other one. I always knew I had the one coming back!" Philander was quoted by PTI as saying after South Africa’s memorable 72-run win in Cape Town.
"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," he further added.
On being asked if he had anything to say to Virat after dismissing him, Philander said: "Nah, I never said anything to him. It was just obviously on the spur of the moment I just tried to spur my boys on, and that's what we tend to focus on.
"We knew that Virat was a big wicket to get, and getting him right there and then, I just strived to (enjoy it with) my boys."
Talking about the target of 208, Philander admitted that as the total wasn’t too big they had to make things happen.
"When you look at the type of score that you have to defend, 208, someone has to make the play. You can't wait for later in the game because there might not be a 'later on in the game’. I knew that I had to bowl overs upfront and put us in a good position, and I just wanted to bowl and make a difference," he said.
Philander, who picked his 12th five-wicket haul in Test cricket, also credited his skipper Faf du Plessis for the tactics of having Quinton de Kock standing up to the stumps to get rid of dangerous looking Ashwin.
"You have to be open to those suggestions, but I'll have to give this one to 'Faffie'," he 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," concluded Vernon Philander.