Philander modest after milestone

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In one of the the only highlights on an otherwise miserable day for South Africa, Vernon Philander claimed his 100th Test wicket in record time on the third day of the first Test against India in Johannesburg.

In one of the the only highlights on an otherwise miserable day for South Africa, Vernon Philander claimed his 100th Test wicket in record time on the third day of the first Test against India in Johannesburg.

Philander did so in his 19th match – one faster than fellow opening bowler Dale Steyn.

"It is a great feeling to eventually get there. I've been reminded a few times – in the UAE as well – of how far I was away from the 100th wicket but to me it is another game and I prepare for each game the same and hopefully I can grab a few more sticks in the future for South Africa," said Philander.

Philander needed no reminder that, with the 320 lead their opponents have, the fourth day of this Test match would be the best time to do so.

The fact that he is struggling with toothache isn't helping matters either, although he admitted that his pain is nothing in comparison to that of Morne Morkel – who rolled his ankle before lunch.

"Losing Morne is probably worse than my toothache at the moment, but yes, it's one of those days. They obviously played very well – hats off to them," he added.

Philander said that although the Proteas have their backs against the wall, they are far from giving up.

"We always believe that there is a way out – how we are going to go about it is something we will have to discuss in the morning, but yes, there is always a belief factor," he insisted.

Quizzed on batting conditions, Philander said that while it is difficult under cloud cover, it becomes easier once it clears.

"This morning and yesterday when they bowled there was obviously overcast conditions, which made the ball do a few more stuff on occasions and we think when we came out this afternoon the sun was bright out again," he said.

"When we were batting yesterday afternoon as well, when the sun broke through it was easier to bat on so hopefully the sun will stay out and the wicket will stay the same for the next two days."

Having scored his third Test 50 with the second delivery of the day's play, he said that he relishes pressure situations – hinting that he would like to spend more time in the middle.

"I spend a lot of time on my batting, away from the national side as well, I take great pride in it, I enjoy those sort of moments when the pressure is up and I can make a play for the team," acknowledged Philander.

From a team perspective he refused to be told that Steyn is going through a rough patch and like his countrymen, he is hoping for a change in fortunes as they look to restrict the visitors, who will resume play at 284 for two.

"I wouldn't say he had an off day, the guys played and missed him a lot and sometimes it does not go for you. This is one of those Test matches where it hasn't gone for him so far, but he is still a wonderful bowler and who knows, he might still rock-up and take five quickly," concluded Philander.

<i>Michael Mentz at the Wanderers</i>

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