England captain, Joe Root, says he is well aware of the threat that Vernon Philander poses for the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
The Proteas seamer suffered from a stomach virus, which prevented his captain, Faf du Plessis, from fully utilising him in England’s 239-run victory at The Oval, to put them 2-1 up in the series.
According to Sport24.com, Root is conscious about the danger of Philander and that England will make sure to study the seamer closely.
‘He’s a world-class bowler and puts the ball in good areas,’ said Root of Philander at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
‘Throughout this series, there have been surfaces that have been more bowler-friendly and he obviously poses a big threat to us, and we don’t take him lightly.
‘We will make sure we do our homework on him if you like and we are fully prepared for all the challenges the whole attack brings.
‘I think it’s wrong to single out individuals — you know on any given day any one of those guys can put in good performances.’
England have their own issues to deal with, however, as they hope for opener Keaton Jennings to find some form in the final Test. The South African-born batsman has failed to impress in the first three Tests against South Africa, recording scores of 39, 33, 8, 3,0, 48 and 0.
His recent lapse in form has not deterred Root and the England selectors from maintaining faith in the ability of the 25-year-old.
‘He’s a very level-headed guy, he’s got a very strong character and throughout he’s been very much the same in the way he’s approached his training, and in each game as well,’ Root said of Jennings.
‘It’s great to see someone so light of experience be very mature and go about it in the right way.
‘The way he played in that second innings was extremely great to see, I’m pleased that he’s been able to get a score, and hopefully that’ll lead into some more runs this week.
‘It’s tough, and that’s why it’s called Test cricket, it can be a very hard thing to break into.
‘You come from county cricket where there’s not a huge amount of exposure to the media and external scrutiny, and you have to get your head around it pretty quickly.
‘It is a test of character, it’s a test of skill.’
The prediction for heavy rain in Manchester has made it hard to analyse the pitch conditions, but Root has remained confident that his side can walk away with a win.
‘There’s been a lot of chat about the weather around, but most importantly all we need to focus on is making sure we look to win this game.’
He has yet to comment on the XI to face the Proteas in the deciding Test.
It [the wicket] was under-prepared, and a lot can change in the next 24 hours, so we’ll make a judgement on the side tomorrow [Friday].’
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