South Africa captain Faf du Plessis hailed allrounder Vernon Philander as the “new Jacques Kallis” after the Proteas thrashed England at Trent Bridge on Monday to draw level in the four-match series.
Having been heavily beaten in the first Test at Lord’s, the Proteas decided to drop a batsman – Theunis de Bruyn – and play the extra allrounder in Chris Morris.
That change meant Philander, who also scored a fifty at Lord’s, got a promotion in the batting order – to number seven – and the Cape Cobras man repaid the selectors’ faith with a crucial 54 in the first innings in Nottingham.
Always lethal with the new ball, the 32-year-old took two wickets in England’s first innings and contributed another 42 runs in South Africa’s second innings with the willow.
Philander’s line and length with the ball was impeccable in the fourth innings as he nipped out three wickets to claim the man of the match award as the Proteas won by 340 runs.
Kallis retired from Test cricket in 2013 after scoring more than 13 000 runs and taking 292 wickets in 166 games in the longest format for the Proteas.
Du Plessis said of Philander: “He’s becoming the new Jacques Kallis the way he’s batting. He’s a fantastic cricketer.
“When there’s something there (in the pitch), he’s probably the best in the world at doing something with it.
“We left a batsman out to play two allrounders, with that comes extra responsibility.
“With the promotion to number seven, I backed his technique and he responded by getting crucial runs in this game. He stepped up to the plate.”
The third Test of the series starts at the Oval on 27 July.
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