South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban

Morkel likely to play in Durban

Firdose Moonda in Durban

December 25, 2013

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

Morkel suffered a mild ankle sprain just before lunch, South Africa  v India, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 3rd day, December 20, 2013
Morne Morkel was unable to bowl for the rest of the match after suffering an injury in India's second innings © AFP
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Morne Morkel has recovered from the ankle sprain that kept him from bowling for most of the second innings at the Wanderers and will be considered for selection for the Durban Test. Morkel had a fitness test on Christmas Day and batted in the nets at the team's optional training session. He is likely to play in the Boxing Day match.

"He seems to be okay. I haven't chatted to the physiotherapist Brandon Jackson again but just briefly chatting to Morne, he seems to be fine so that's good news for us," Russell Domingo, South Africa's coach said.

After slipping on the turf and being helped off the field in the over before lunch on the third day of the first Test, Morkel was said to need seven to ten days rest and was given only a 20% chance of playing in the Boxing Day match. Graeme Smith said after the Wanderers Test that the prognosis on Morkel was "not great", but the South Africa pacer believed he had an 80% chance of playing.

Morkel spent the afternoon in a decompression chamber in hospital to bring down the swelling and was padded up to bat on Sunday. He was not needed, and Smith said Morkel could barely stand and would have struggled to take the crease, never mind running between the wickets. On Monday, Morkel had made some progress but there was still concern over whether he would break down mid-Test.

By Tuesday, however, the fast bowler was spotted bowling with a heavily strapped ankle and today, took part in training. He moved with ease, stepping out of his crease to hit the ball and walked without any discomfort. He is unlikely to have another fitness Test, and a final call will be taken by team management this evening.

Should they decide Morkel will last the full five days, he will be a certain pick after finishing the Johannesburg game as South Africa's most menacing bowler. Domingo confirmed that if Morkel was fit, there would be no place for either Rory Kleinveldt or Kyle Abbott as South Africa would not consider an all-pace attack and leave JP Duminy to do the slower-bowling duties. "I always like to play the spinner, so it's highly unlikely we will change the make-up of the team," Domingo said.

What could change is the spinner South Africa use. "We need to think about the spinner a bit more. We probably need somebody to do more of a holding role for us, so Robbie [Robin Peterson] will come into contention but I need to still discuss that with selectors," Domingo said.

Imran Tahir, who briefly called Durban his home ground, was ineffective and expensive at the Wanderers and, with the Indian batsmen able to pick and play him with ease, South Africa may opt for a more conservative spinner, despite the surface they will be playing on.

Kingsmead's pitch could take turn on the final two days and Domingo is expecting a tough encounter on a surface that may be more sub-continental than South Africa would like.

"It looks pretty dry, which is probably not what we were expecting," he said. "It's going to be a hard Test match. It's not going to be a short 180 all-out game."

South Africa have lost the last four Tests they've played in Durban but Domingo said the record is not haunting their preparation.

"It's my first Test in Durban, so I don't carry any baggage here. I love this city. I always said if I were to leave PE, I'd live in Durban," he said. "I know a lot of the players are really looking forward to this. It's an icon Test for us."

With bright sunshine, warm weather and the news of Morkel's fitness, Domingo was also not fussed about the way Dale Steyn or Hashim Amla performed in the first Test. Steyn went wicketless in the second innings and Amla was bowled twice while attempting to leave the ball, but Domingo expects them to bounce back strongly.

"I was watching Hashim earlier in the nets and I said I know this guy is going to get runs at some stage. He is too good a player not to," he said. "He has had a great run of form for the last three years. It's not like he has been in form for two weeks, he has been in form for three years. And Dale, too. He'll be back. That's what great players do, they step up. I expect them to put in great performances in the next few days."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by KALAM46 on (December 26, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

At Durban, SA should replace Tahir with Robbin Peterson, otherwise it would be a risk. For India Jadeja should be considered in place of Rohit Sharma. Jadeja is an excellent fielding all-rounder; over and all he is an exploiter to change the turn of game. While wishing Best of Luck to both SA and India hope a thriller again. The retirement of Jacques Kallis is a big loss for Test Cricket lovers. He is definitely the all time great all-rounder of this beautiful sport. Thank you Jacques for giving us plenty of enjoyment and fun through out your carrier. Best Wishes.

Posted by har007 on (December 26, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

I point is that SA should go with Tahir for this match also. because if the patch is going to have turn in the fourth and fifth day then no point of having a spinner who cannot turn and take wickets. the holding role can be done by JP as well. SA need a spinner who can take wickets in this pitch. therefore the first choice would be Tahir when compared Robin with Tahir.

Posted by humdrum on (December 26, 2013, 2:49 GMT)

I think the Proteas would be silly to play Morkel and risk further injury which could affect his career.Surely they have replacements in the ranks ? Having said that,their spin department looks pretty weak,and should the wicket turn out to be dry,and turn on the last two days,they hardly have any spinner worth the name to exploit the conditions.Not impressive for the top test side in the world.After all,they should have men for all situations,against all opposition,home and away.They are (were ?) expected to win this home series and failure to do so would whet the appetite of Australia,who would be thinking that the Proteas are right there for the taking.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (December 26, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

Looking forward to another great match in Durban. Morkel's injury didn't look good and I hope he's alright and continues to be. Good luck to both sides and congratulations to Kallis on a magnificent career.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2013, 17:39 GMT)

I am worried about the three non-performers from the fist test: Dhawan, Rohit & Ashwin.

Dhawan, taking the Veeru-way is my biggest disappointment. Veeru-way is OK for the short formats. Every one is blind (including himself) about his poor show in tests, just because of his great debut century, where he batted with more caution, to get himself re-established in test cricket. Excessive praise seems to have clouded his mindset.

Ashwin: Durban is, perhaps,the only SA venue, where probably he can make an impact. If he fails in Durban too, he HAS TO DEVELOP NEW SKILLS to be effective in SA, NZ. OZ & ENG . (of course in bi-lateral series). In multi-lateral tourneys, ICC comes into the picture, and they do not permit 'doctored' pitches, which seems to have become a norm, and a 'proud' move, in bi-laterals.

Rohit: His old problem of chasing outgoing balls, playing away from the body, and generally a little bit of 'loose' batting has resurfaced.

Going to watch the three with bated breath.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

Too late to bring in Jadeja for Ashwin. Need Dhawan and Robit and Ashwin to put up a good show. Rohit was out to a shooter in the second innings but fell to his old nemesis, lack of concentration in the First innings, cannot tolerate that. Dhawan has been the big disappointment. He needs to stay at the wicket. The fist goal is to stay till lunch and take it from there. Ashwin needs to come up with a game plan how he is going to take wicket.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

Cant wait for the test to begin. India should go all out even if it means there would be some very tired bowlers with niggles at the end of the test. They could always bring in the back up bowlers against NZ

Posted by Jimmyvida on (December 25, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

Let's say we do what the shouters are saying .Drop Rohit for Jadeja and drop Ashwin for Ojha. We now have six batsmen including Dhoni and 5 bowlers who can't bat. India will be certain to lose in 3 days. With a team like that and were I Smith, win the toss, send India in, get them out by the second period and WALLA! You have concluded that the No. 3 and 4 batsmen scored in the first test, therefore...

Posted by   on (December 25, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

@ TVR.Cricket - I feel that Ashwin is not good enough for test matches though he is a smart cricketer in ODI's. He might have all round abilities but Ojha is the best spinner in the squad. i am sure Jadeja would have caused more problems to the batsmen with his quicker ones than what ashwin did at wanderers. If its for all round abilities that ashwin is playing then jadeja should take his place as he is a better batsmen and fielder too.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

I am worried about the three non-performers from the fist test: Dhawan, Rohit & Ashwin. Dhawan, taking the Veeru way is my biggest disappointment. Veeru way is OK for the short format. Every one is blind (including himself) about Dhawan's poor show in Tests, just because of his great debut century, where he batted with more caution, to get himself re-established in test cricket. Excessive praise seems to have clouded his mindset.

Durban is the only SA venue, where probably Ashwin can make an impact. If he fails in Durban too, he HAS TO DEVELOP NEW SKILLS to be effective in SA, NZ. OZ & ENG -- of course in bi-lateral series. In multi-lateral tourneys, ICC comes into the picture, and they do not permit 'doctored' pitches, which seems to have become a norm, and a 'proud' move!

By the way, what Hessen (coach of NZ)says is factually incorrect. He says, he wants to give India back in the same coin. He is forgetting what NZ did in the series in NZ when Bond was at his peak.

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