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Philander over bug as South Africa look to bounce back

Cricket - South Africa Press Conference - Manchester, Britain - August 2, 2017 South Africa's Vernon Philander during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Cricket - South Africa Press Conference - Manchester, Britain - August 2, 2017 South Africa's Vernon Philander during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

MANCHESTER (Reuters) - Opening bowler Vernon Philander is over the viral infection that South Africa say cost them the third test against England earlier this week and looking forward to trying to level the series when the final test starts on Friday.

Philander’s participation in the 239-run defeat at The Oval was restricted by a stomach bug that hit him so hard he had to spend a night in hospital after suffering serious dehydration.

But he still bowled 32 overs in the two innings and took two wickets, albeit at “70-80 intensity” and frequently having to go back to the dressing room.

“It got a lot worse having to bowl after losing a lot of fluids. 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,” he said on Wednesday after net practice ahead of the fourth test at Old Trafford.

South Africa trail 2-1 in the series after being well beaten at The Oval as they were bowled out before tea on Monday.

Captain Faf du Plessis said the absence of a fully-fit Philander was a “killer blow”.

“It's obvious when I say someone like Vernon Philander missing out was costly.” Philander said on Wednesday the South Africans had made a strong review of their mistakes in the defeat and would be focusing on maintaining extended periods of consistency to put the home side under pressure in the last game of a lengthy tour.

“We let ourselves down but there is still everything to play for. The series has been a rollercoaster, 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. 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,” Philander told reporters.

England won the first test at Lords by 211 runs while South Africa levelled the series at Trent Bridge by winning the second by 340 runs.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Mark Potter)

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