x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Wicket-taking Philander opts to look at form and not record books

The South Africa bowler became the first player in 130 years to reach 45 wickets in his first six Test appearances.

HAMILTON, New Zealand // Vernon Philander was staggered to find out he had become the first player in 130 years to reach 45 wickets in his first six Test appearances.

Philander, 26, achieved his best Test bowling figures of six for 44 as South Africa beat New Zealand by nine wickets in the second cricket Test to lead the series 1-0 yesterday.

And when told of his record, he said: "Heck, now you're going back a long way. It's just going well for me. I've been bowling well in our first class competition back home so I'll take it and hopefully I can get us through another few Test matches this year.

"Bowling is like batting and when you have the form you have to take advantage."

Philander swept through New Zealand's tail after lunch on the third day to fill his fifth bag of five wickets or more in his short Test career. He posted match figures of 10 for 114 after taking four for 70 in New Zealand's first innings (185).

New Zealand were all out for 168 after trailing by 68 runs on the first innings and South Africa only needed 19.5 overs to make up the 101-run margin.

Graeme Smith scored 55 and Hashim Amla 46 in an unbroken 98-run partnership.

"It's always good to win a Test away from home but we had to work for it," Smith said. "We weren't so proud of our batting performance in the first innings [253].

"At 88 for six in the first innings it was a bit squeaky in our changing room," Smith said. "But I think it's a sign of a good Test team that we were able to get ourselves out of trouble and get ourselves into a position where we were able to dominate the game."

New Zealand's top order batting failed again, as it has throughout the series, but captain Ross Taylor said the Kiwis had to approach the final Test with a positive frame of mind.

"South Africa just outplayed us," Taylor said. "We played well in parts and were probably on top at a couple of crucial times but South Africa pegged us back.

"We've got to pick ourselves up from this. We're not out of this series and we can still draw the series come Wellington."