Fabulous Philander flattens Black Caps
Vernon Philander produced yet another match-winning performance to lead South Africa to a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second Test at Hamilton.
In returning 6-44, Philander was chiefly responsible for restricting the hosts to 168 in their second innings, despite a defiant 77 from Kane Williamson.
The powerful right-arm seamer, who made his Test debut against Australia last November, now boasts 45 wickets from six appearances at an outstanding average of 13.60.
This latest contribution represented his fifth five-wicket haul and also ensured he finished with 10 scalps in a Test for a second time, along with a third man-of-the-match award.
Following Philander’s heroics, South Africa eased to their target of 101 inside 20 overs, skipper Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla finishing unbeaten on 55 and 46 respectively after Alviro Petersen had fallen cheaply.
The Proteas therefore hold a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber, last week’s series-opener in Dunedin having fallen victim to rain on the final day.
Wellington’s Basin Reserve will play host to the third and final Test, starting on March 23.
New Zealand began day three four wickets down in their second innings with a slender lead of three, after Philander and Dale Steyn had each struck twice yesterday evening.
Williamson, who resumed on 41, and the vastly experienced Daniel Vettori showed their battling qualities to survive the first hour, but only 34 runs had been added by the time the latter gloved a short ball from Jacques Kallis through to Mark Boucher.
Philander then struck either side of lunch to put South Africa in complete control. Kruger van Wyk was bowled by one that nipped back, while Williamson’s 193-ball innings was brought to an end when he played loosely outside off stump to be caught behind.
New Zealand quickly folded thereafter and Morne Morkel cleaned up Doug Bracewell with a wonderful inswinger before Philander wrapped up the innings with the wickets of Mark Gillespie and the hapless Chris Martin, who registered his 33rd duck in Test cricket.
Bracewell struck an early blow with the ball for the Black Caps by having Petersen caught behind for one by a diving van Wyk.
Yet there were to be no further setbacks for South Africa as Smith and Amla combined to good effect in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 98.
The ease with which both men scored suggested there were few gremlins in the surface.
Five of Amla’s nine fours came through the cover region, including three in one Martin over, while Smith collected nine boundaries in all, including a powerful drive past mid-off that brought the match to an end.