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Philander confident SA will come good on final day
South Africa’s most experienced pacer Vernon Philander on Saturday said his team is still “within a shot” of winning the first Test against India and backed his batsmen to emulate their first innings effort on day five here.
In response to India’s 502/7 declared, South Africa exceeded expectations by scoring 431 in its innings.
“I still think we are in with a shot. They played really well, myself, KG (Rabada) all started well. Taking 70 runs lead we would have taken it as India scored 500 runs. Hopefully, we come ready tomorrow, bat well and take it real close,” said Philander, referring to the 71-run lead they conceded to India.
Did India play it too safe by declaring when it did? “Depends on how you look at it. There is a bit there for the spinners but in saying that we batted 130 overs in the first innings. So they had to make sure of that they get enough runs on board first of all,” Philander said.
“No game is a safe game. It’s a good wicket, the batters are in good form and hopefully we can get a good start tomorrow and set up for later on in the day.” First innings centurion Dean Elgar was the only South African to get out towards the end of final session. Philander expects others in the team to rise to the occasion.
Asked to comment on Rohit’s second hundred in first match as Test opener, Philander said: “I think it’s difficult to compare when you play at home to when you play abroad, it’s a different ball game. But he scored the runs, what more do you want? All the best to him.”