Vernon Philander is fully fit after recovering from his viral infection, as he looks to help the Proteas draw the series 2-2 at Old Trafford.
Although he was still able to send down 32 overs and take two wickets, Philander’s intensity and control was desperately missed under the favourable conditions at The Oval. He admitted at the press conference on Wednesday that he only delivered those overs at ’70-80%’ intensity, and he’s looking to make up for lost time.
‘It got a lot worse having to bowl after losing a lot of fluids,’ he explained at the squad’s practice at Old Trafford on Wednesday. ‘I lost a lot of fluids from the top and the bottom. The night in hospital, being on a drip, revitalised me but it all came back up again the next day. All in all, I’m a lot better, I’m energised and have replenished a lot of the fluids.’
The Proteas will have to put in a series-levelling performance to salvage a difficult tour, and the return of Philander, with cloudy conditions forecast, is a needed boost. He admits that the squad have made a strong review of the mistakes from the 239-run loss, and will be focusing on maintaining extended periods of consistency to put the home side under pressure.
‘There is everything to play for,’ he said of the series. ‘We let ourselves down and there is everything to play for. The series has been a roller-coaster, so have the margins of victory and defeat. The boys are ready for this one, we have had a few hard chats, but the players will take ownership of their performances and improve in the next match.
‘We have an honesty policy in the side,’ he explained. ‘We all admitted that it wasn’t our best Test match. As players, we take ownership of our performances. We let ourselves down with the bat in the first innings, and we have been brutally honest about it. We are looking forward to correcting those mistakes in this match and hopefully we can level the series.’