CAPE TOWN – Come what may, the sledging in this South African-Australian series will not subside.
The players may have had time to cool off in Cape Town after the intensity of Durban and Port Elizabeth, but once the action gets underway at the foot of Table Mountain on Thursday the hostilities will resume.
It doesn’t matter that the “King of Newlands” Vernon Philander has stated his Twitter account fell foul to the social media underworld resulting in an embarrassing tweet, there is no doubt South Africa’s opening bowler will be reminded of the faux pas.
“We saw the tweet. It was obviously quite popular there for a little while,” Australian opener Cameron Bancroft said. “I can’t really comment. I don’t know if he wrote it or if his account was hacked or not. I can’t really say for him.
“That’s his opinion, isn’t it? And he’s got to deal with the consequences of that now, not us. If our banter is anything like it has gone this series I’m sure it will be brought up at some stage to get under someone’s nerves.
Good morning all my tweeps. Waking up this morning to alot of twitter craziness as my acc got hacked and someone posted a nice little article on my behalf. Sorry for all the drama or entertainment caused by the looks of it. Have a great day all.
“That’s boys being boys playing cricket. Who can hurt someone’s feelings the most. It seems to be a bit that way.”
With Kagiso Rabada’s involvement still uncertain, it would be assumed that Philander would take over the aggressor role at his home ground.
Philander doesn’t have the pace or hostility of Rabada, but his skill and body language does put the opposition under pressure.
Proteas opening batsman Dean Elgar believes Philander will be ready for anything the Aussies have planned for him.
“I think he will take it in his stride, like Vern does. He is quite a relaxed human being, if you know him as well as I do,” Elgar told reporters. “But on the field he is as competitive as anyone else; He has got a set of skills which helps us out on the field.
“I’m sure he will expect that they will come out and say something on the field and I’m sure he is pretty prepared for that.”
The Aussies have certainly tried to get away from the madness that has engulfed the series while they have been in the Mother City. Among the usual activities like climbing Lions Head, there was a small group that went shark-cage diving this past week.
But there remains concern over the fitness of the two Mitchells.
All-rounder Marsh and left-arm speedster Starc had limited run-outs at Newlands yesterday with Marsh only bowling a few balls, due him still nursing a groin strain.
Starc, who is suffering from a sore calf, did not bowl at all, although Australian media liaison Kate Hutchison indicated he would bowl today.
“He (Marsh) has had four really important days off, as it has been for everyone,” Bancroft said. “Especially our fast bowlers, who have spent a lot of time bowling over the last six months. Mitch has been working through his stuff.
“He had a bowl. I assume he’ll hopefully pick that (speed) up leading up to the game on Thursday.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine.”