South Africa’s Vernon Philander said that he was desperate to win the ongoing Test match at Perth against Australia as a tribute to fellow pacer Dale Steyn who will play no further part in the series after injuring his shoulder on the second day of the series opener on Friday.
The hosts looked well in command after openers David Warner and Shaun Marsh shared a 158-run opening stand in response to South Africa’s first innings total of 242 runs before suffering a dramatic collapse that saw ten wickets fall with the addition of 86 more runs, thus giving Steven Smith's side a slender two-run lead.
After coming out second-best for the best part of the opening day as well as the start of the day’s play on Friday in his battle against Warner, Steyn triggered the Australian collapse dismissing the dangerous opener three runs short of what would have been a terrific century. Steyn, however, had to leave the field after bowling the fourth delivery of his 13th over after aggravating the injury to his troublesome right shoulder that has been bothering the paceman for some time.
Philander and Rabada keen on stepping up
Despite losing their pace spearhead, the visitors clawed their way back into the contest with Philander leading the way picking up four wickets while debutant Keshav Maharaj picked up three wickets. With South Africa ending Day 2 with a 102-run lead with eight wickets in hand, Philander wants his side to complete the comeback and register a famous victory as a mark of respect for Steyn.
"Losing big players leaves a big gap but there's always an opportunity for someone else to step up," Philander said. "In this game KG [Kagiso Rabada] and myself will have to step up. That serves as motivation for us to step up and deliver. Dale's done it for a long time and we owe it to him.”
"Dale's been the leader of this attack for a very long time and it's sad to see him go down like that. We had a job to do and that was to get the Aussies out as cheaply as possible, and it was a job well done by the rest of the bowlers," he added. "It's a responsibility that will be well taken by the rest of the team and the squad. We want to win this game for Dale as well," he added.
Warner expresses his sympathy
David Warner also expressed his sympathy for Steyn wishing the South African pace spearhead a speedy recovery but also warned his teammates against taking the likes of Philander and Kagiso Rabada lightly.
"I am disappointed for Dale. After all the amp and the talk before the series, I know how pumped he would have been to play a big role. It is disappointing for him," Warner said. "I hope he can get back on the park and play the competitive cricket that we've seen him play."
The 30-year-old is hopeful that Australia can avoid the mistakes they made in the first innings when they come out to bat the second time around but admitted that restricting the target to as low a total as possible should be their first aim.
"We have to respect each individual. There are two very good fast bowlers there and we've seen the wickets they can take," Warner said. "We can't look too far ahead. In this match, we still have to bowl well and then bat again but we know that if we get through that first period with the new ball, they will have to revert to spin."