Du Plessis: England took advantage of Philander's absence

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis says nobody expected Philander’s illness to get worse.

FILE: Proteas captain Faf du Plessis. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis says that the loss of seamer Vernon Philander to illness on day one had severe implications for the rest of the Test match.

England beat South Africa by 239 runs after bowling them out for 252 on day five at the Oval. With the win, they go 2-1 up with one Test to go.

Dean Elgar top scored for South Africa ending on 136, his eighth Test century.

Du Plessis says nobody expected Philander’s illness to get worse.

"As a Test cricketer you don't always rock up feeling 100%so, we were just expecting him to get better. The fact that he wasn't was a big loss for us because he didn't bowl enough overs in that first innings when it was required for your best bowlers to be there."

The captain says Elgar’s ton will ease the pressure on the top order.

"Luckily, Dean took that 100 and the monkey is off our shoulders now, so hopefully the batters can respond well and the fact that he showed us exactly what is needed to bat in Test match cricket. It's not going to easy ever. It's about applying yourself and absorbing a lot of pressure."

He says he doesn’t have an answer as to why the series has been so turbulent.

"I think it's a mystery to all of us. There hasn't been consistently good performances from either of the teams. It's been a bizarre series but hopefully, it will continue with that trend and come back to us in the last Test."

The skipper says when Philander was off the field, the English took advantage.

"And there was an opportunity there where England scored possibly 100 runs too many. It was a case of Vernon not being there and our other bowlers not stepping up and being consistent enough, challenging the batsmen on a wicket where there was quite a lot of assistance."