South Africa pacer Morne Morkel feels that final session of the day will be crucial for South Africa’s bowling attack to cause damage on Indian batsmen when the three-match Test series begins on January 5.
“It’s going to be about that last session in the day when the ball is soft and conditions are tough. Majority of the runs in Test cricket are scored after tea time. So for us, it’s going to be if we have enough petrol in the tank to knock India over at the back end of the day,” said Morkel.
Morkel claimed his first Test five-for in five years against South Africa’s one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth which the Proteas won inside two days. Despite being the most successful pacer in the match, he is the also the one at risk of missing out against India when Dale Steyn returns.
If South Africa stick to a frontline attack of three seamers and a spinner at Newlands, Morkel may have to watch the match from the sidelines. Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander are all but secure. This leaves the selectors to choose between the Steyn and Morkel.
“We’ll have to see,” said 33 year-old Morkel, who has taken 281 wickets from 80 Tests so far. “Dale has been bowling exceptionally well in the nets. He looks strong, he is very fit and I reckon he would have been a handful on this (Port Elizabeth) wicket but it’s another week for him to freshen up.”
While Steyn has not played an international fixture since November 2016, Morkel has featured in all but one of South Africa’s Tests since March. He missed the second match against Bangladesh in October after suffering a side strain in the first and needed six weeks to recover.