South Africa v SA Composite XI, Johannesburg, 3rd day February 6, 2014

Morkel, Philander find rhythm, form


South Africa 300 (Philander 58*, Hendricks 3-52) & 243 (du Plessis 102*, Hendricks 2-16) drew with South African Composite XI 135 (de Kock 50, Peterson 3-9) & 66 for 7 (van Zyl 21*, Morkel 3-6)

A century from Faf du Plessis and six wickets snaffled by Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel gave South Africa what the coach Russell Domingo said was "more" than what he expected from this fixture. South Africa did not bother with bowling the Composite side out, agreeing to shake hands on a draw shortly before the scheduled tea break on day three.

It left Domingo with what he called a "pretty clear" idea of his XI for the first Test against Australia, which starts on February 12, although he will only make his mind once he assesses conditions in Centurion. What seems certain is that du Plessis will bat at No.4. He again demonstrated patience and solid temperament in a four-hour stint at the crease, which saw him score the only century of the match.

The only other candidate for that position was AB de Villiers, who batted for the first time since hand surgery in today's play. De Villiers spent an hour-and-a-half at the crease to compile his 40 runs, also starting slowly before kicking off. He also kept wicket later on and declared himself "very close to 100%," and comfortable staying at No. 5. "That's what best for the team and for me, for now," de Villiers said.

Left-armer Beuran Hendricks was the only successful bowler from the Composite side, as he bowled Vernon Philander for 11.

The South African side declared while Dale Steyn was at the crease, which meant neither Morkel nor Rory Kleinveldt had to bat again in this fixture. Instead, they were given a final run with ball in hand and Morkel, in particular, upped the ante.

Although it was expected Steyn would be the pacer to bowl at full throttle, as he did against an Australian XI in Sydney in November 2012 in a warm-up game, it was Morkel who turned on the gas. Steyn's four overs went by without much incident, apart from the aggression he showed against Dean Elgar. Vernon Philander, in his usual fashion of bowling outside off stump, took the first three wickets as Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock and Elgar were dismissed for single figures.

Then Morkel steamed in, bowling quickly and generating steep bounce to remove Temba Bavuma, Rilee Rossouw and Dominic Hendricks. All three were caught behind. Stiaan van Zyl was the only composite batsmen to have some measure of the conditions. He scored 21 in an vigil of 89 minutes, while Wayne Parnell managed a pacy 20.

JP Duminy did not take the field on the final day due to tendonitis in his wrist but the batsman's fitness will be assessed over the next few days.

"Everybody had a good workout, Faf scored 100, the bowlers bowled well and I'm happy with the overall picture," Domingo said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    I was very much impressed by the presence at the crease of Stiaan van Zyl during this warm-up match which really developed into trial for the Kallis position. I was one of only 10 or so people present at the Wanderers during the first two days of the match. Thus, from first hand observance, Van Zyl will not let SA down whether as an opener or batting no 6 or 7. He look the part. He should play as well as Beuran Hendricks who swung the ball and will do so in Centurion due to the rain there the past seven days. I will simply leave JP Duminy out and also play Robin Peterson.

  • Thomas on February 7, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Oh, and to EVERYONE.

    DO NOT go into the test series thinking we are STRONG ENOUGH in batting to warrant having Philander\Parnell\McLaren at 7!

    This Aussie team are as good at blowing away a tail as Steyn is. As good as Vern etc are at batting, they are still NOT as good as our top order batters. Top order batters have reserves of mental strength and patience and batting exposure to have a far better chance of finding solutions to excellent pace bowling. Obviously they won't always succeed, which is why if you HAVE the opportunity to strength the lower order, you DO so, with the main point being not to weaken your bowling obviously.

    Steyn, Philander, Morkel, Spinner and Duminy....if you cant bowl Oz out on a SEAMERS wicket with those 3 pacers, then what the hell?!?

    We MUST have a good batter at 7, and then allow Vern etc to do their *bonus* batting from 8 downwards.

    If we have Parnell\McLaren at 7, we probably have one of the weakest numbers 7's in test Cricket. Why do that?!?

  • Francois on February 7, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Proteas got such good player how Tsolekile can even get considered just blow my mind. I will rather bring in Hendricks, Philander and Peterson can fill the extra batsmen roll.

  • ZCF on February 7, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    The strange thing about all of this is that a lot of you guys would argue to death against the fact that AUS are favourites, and yet even while having a 99% idea of what the team will llook like insist that the Proteas will lose if they go ahead with that selection. Make up your minds! As far as I'm concerned Hendricks in place of RobbieP, and Qdk instead of RobbieP/Mclaren won't be enough to sway your position from that of concern to one of confidence.

    On their day Parnell&RobbieP can be very effective with bat&ball, something we're not sure of at this level and in this format, where QdK&Hendricks are concerned. Hafeez&Guptill are as good as any batsman in ODIs, but pathetic at Test level. Hughes apart who hit the ground running initially, it hasn't been plain sailing for the likes Root&Taylor, and remember even Kohli was also on the verge of being dropped for a long time early on in his career. Yes, Qdk who was for long an utterly pathetic ODI player initially is no star or saviour!

  • Sidwell on February 7, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    My team would be 1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6.Duminy/Elgar/De Kock 7.Peterson 8.Vern 9.Steyn 10.Morkel 11. B.Hendricks but i guess the selectors will either choose McClaren or Parnell or even Kleinveldt.We must play with 4 frontline seamers

  • Dummy4 on February 6, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    I hope the selectors will choose these:

    Smith, de Kock Amla Faf de Villiers Duminy Philander Robbie P. McLaren or Beuran H. (toss up, but I would take Hendricks - we're strong enough in batting) Morne M. Dale Steyn.

  • David on February 6, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    @ Ralf Foley wrote "If we go in with Duminy at 6, McLaren/Parnell at 7 and Peterson at 8, we will lose! this series."

    Agreed. The selectors will shoot this team in both feet if that is their decision. I'm not sure who is the weaker batsman & weaker spinner between Duminy & Robbie P: frankly, both shine occasionally yet neither is consistent & good enough to merit selection in a #1 team. Their records are clear, & will not change overnight. As for the supposed "all-rounders," they will bat "all round" the ball, and be carted "all round" the field, because neither makes it into the team on ONE skill alone, never mind both.

    Hendricks deserves a place. His form is undeniable & consistent. The same must be said for de Kock. If this team is selected on merit, they must be included. Kallis is no longer here to carry water for the weak players, & must be replaced by the BEST performing batsman & bowler. I think Beuran will debut just like Vernon did. QdK has already shown he is now ready.

  • Dummy4 on February 6, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa I like your team but we will have to lose before we see your team. It is a tough one. Like you, I want to see the strongest team but I also want to win this series.

  • creebo on February 6, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    I dont know why the selectors didnt go for beuran hendricks,the guy is good enough to take the new ball,

  • David on February 6, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    @ ZCFOutkastthinks that "once Warner&Watson slap him (Morkel) to all corners of the field upfront, he'll fizzle into the cannon fodder that he is for the rest of the innings!"

    1. Warner & Watson are the least likely to slap anything, anywhere. 2. Morkel is consistently difficult to score off - look up his recent stats - e.g. he was the best of ALL bowlers in Adelaide, 2012. That is, of course, if you are interested in real debate or just reflexively bashing anybody except Thami Tsolokile, who is the LAST player that should be considered for selection. It may have escaped your attention, but HE CANT BAT! Scoring runs is important in cricket matches - not sure if you agree with that - & Thami is nothing but a liability. Possibly only Tahir could score less?

    Robbie P will not be of much use, though he is a much better batsman than Thami. Hendricks is in formidable form, and given conditions is a much smarter selection.

    And, of course, de Kock is a no-brainer compared to Thami.

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