When Vernon Philander’s dream-spell routed New Zealand

A couple of days ago, England beat South Africa at their home in the first Test of the series. It was South Africa’s fourth loss in last five Tests, after they had a horrible Test series against India. At the same time, in different corner of the world, New Zealand were bashing Sri Lanka in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs). But exactly three years ago, the fortunes of South Africa and New Zealand were completely opposite.

In the first Test of the series in South Africa in January 2013, New Zealand opted to bat first on the Newlands pitch that offered some assistance to the pacers. But what transpired was something the Kiwis couldn’t have imagined. In no time, their innings folded up for 45 — their third lowest Test score. It took South Africa’s pace trio of Dale Steyn-Vernon Philander-Morne Morkel less than 20 overs to wind their innings up. Also Read: 2015 Yearender: South Africa’s bittersweet year peppered with individual brilliance.

The Kiwi rout was lead by Philander, who bowled a dream-spell (6-3-7-5) and took five of the top-six New Zealand wickets to fall. Such was the impact of the assault that only one New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson, who eventually fell to Philander, could get into the double figures with his 13 runs. He first removed Martin Guptill, who was caught behind the wickets by AB de Villiers. Then Brendon McCullum was cleaned-up, followed by the wickets of Dean Brownlie and BJ Watling. Steyn (2 wickets) and Morkel (3 wickets) ably supported Philander and scripted New Zealand’s collapse. Also Read: New Zealand in 2015: A glorious year speckled by stinging heartbreaks.

New Zealand could never really recover from his shock performance, and though they restricted South Africa to 347, they could score only 275 in the second innings to lose the match by an innings and 27 runs. Brownlie got a fighting hundred in the second innings where Philander took 22 overs to take his first wicket. He finished up with the figures of 7 for 83 in the match and got the Man-of-the-Match award.