Vernon Philander is fit and ready to lead the Standard Bank Proteas attack in the first Test match against England starting at Lord’s in London on Thursday. Philander has recovered from the ankle injury he sustained earlier this month, and returns to a happy hunting ground which holds fond memories. His man-of-the-match performance in the 51-run win at the ground in 2012 led the Proteas to a 2-0 series victory and the No.1 Test ranking. The current squad has a completely different look and feel to the class of 2012 – Philander, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel are the only players from that squad – but the objectives and desire remains the same ahead of the series-opener. Morne Morkel is the only other bowler in the squad to have played a series in England, which gives the two senior bowlers added responsibility to impart knowledge and ideas to the rest of the attack. Philander says he is relishing the opportunity to bowl at Lord’s, and hopes to use the famous ‘slope’ as an advantage rather than a hindrance.

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