Qantas Tour of South Africa
Philander in focus at favourite venue
Proteas seamer Vernon Philander has an ominous record at Cape Town, but a less than ideal preparation
20 March 2018, 11:00 AM AEST
South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has been backed to overcome his social media slip-up and continue his impressive record in Cape Town when on-field action resumes against Australia this week.
Philander made his Test debut in the 2011 Newlands Test against Australia that included that fateful 47 all out second innings, taking 5-15.
In eight Tests at the ground he has 47 wickets at 16.34, compared to a career mark of 22.19 from 52 matches.
And his 6-42 at the venue this year against India was a career-best return, which spells an ominous warning for Australian batsmen.
But the last time these teams met in Cape Town in 2014, Philander had a forgettable Test, returning just one wicket for 158 runs in 33 overs, going at 4.83 an over (compared to a career economy of 2.67).
Philander found himself at the centre of a social media scandal last week, when a midnight tweet that slammed Steve Smith for his role in the incident that saw Kagiso Rabada banned went viral.
Philander was quick to claim he had been "hacked" the next morning, and Cameron Bancroft indicated the Australians were willing to use that tidbit when the on-field banter resumes.
Proteas opener Dean Elgar says Philander would not be unsettled by any sledging.
"He'll take it in his stride and I'm sure he's going to expect it. They're going to come out and say something on the field," Elgar told reporters.
"He's pretty prepared. He's quite a relaxed human being, if you know him as well as I do.
"On the field he's competitive as anybody else."
Elgar suggested both sides would continue to use what Steve Waugh famously dubbed "'mental disintegration" as they seek to gain the upper hand in a series currently locked at 1-1.
"There's been a lot of niggle," he said.
"It's something I've been on the receiving end of, but I'm also one to give it out a bit in all the right measurements.
"It comes from both sides. You expect there's going to be some niggle and a bit of words. The intensity should be there."
Philander claimed his verified Twitter account was "hacked" the morning after a message suggested Smith "gave KG the shoulder".
"He could have avoided any contact but to me he is just as guilty. Trying some football skills to get a penalty??? Pity he didn't dive to top it off," it noted.
Bancroft noted Philander will have to "deal with the consequences" of the message.
"I'm sure it will be brought up at some stage to get under someone's nerves," Bancroft told reporters.
"That's boys being boys, playing cricket. Who can hurt someone's feelings the most? It seems to be a bit that way."
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test South Africa won by six wickets. Scorecard
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage