From frying pan to fire: Kingsmead, Vernon Philander add to India's woes

Vernon PhilanderIf Vernon Philander hadnít fallen in his room and hurt his shoulder on the morning of the match, the pacer would have added to the visiting teamís woes at the Bullring on Thursday.REUTERS

It is not as if AB de Villiers wasn't satisfied with the 141-run hammering that his team had just dealt out to a hapless India. But it's safe to say that he seemed far from content, despite the fact that this was South Africa's second-biggest win in ODIs in terms of runs and that his six-man pace attack had sent the visiting batsmen literally running for cover.

While he was all praise for the likes of Dale Steyn & Co, de Villiers sounded disappointed on having missed out on unleashing the craftiest force of his pace battery, Vernon Philander. It was also probably a reminder that it could get only worse from here for India, for, if Philander hadn't fallen in his room and hurt his shoulder on the morning of the match, the pacer would have added to the visiting team's woes at the Bullring on Thursday. Only last week, Philander had bamboozled the Pakistani top-order with an incisive spell of genuine swing bowling at Centurion, where conditions were hardly as helpful for pacers as the Wanderers.

Having said that, the pace and bounce in Johannesburg deserved only part of the credit for the South Africans' demolition of the Indians. There seemed an added sense of purpose in whatever de Villiers and his team did during the opening ODI, starting with the batting, and especially so when a fired-up Steyn steamed in.

It's unlikely that it had anything to do with the lack of bonhomie between the administrators of both countries in the build-up to the tour. The motive was clear. Draw first blood and get into the psyche of the Indian batsmen, reminding them of their fallacies against high-quality bowling in foreign climes. No leeways and no loose-ends. There was a plan in place for every batsman and each one of them executed with inch-perfect precision.

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