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December 18, 2011
Allan Donald, South Africa's bowling coach, believes Sri Lanka will struggle to make a contest out of the remaining two Test matches in the series. The visitors were blown away by an innings and 81-runs in Centurion, being bowled out for under 200 in both innings, and Donald said that although they have a quality line-up, things will not get any easier for them.
"What they have in the tank and what they bring to the party on a different surface will be different but if we're going to bowl like we are at the moment, and the wickets have helped, it's going to be tough for them to come back into this series," he said. "We'll make sure of that."
South Africa's attack benefitted from a green top in Centurion and Donald expects another "bouncy" track in Durban, without "too much lateral movement." Conditions have been so tailor-made to suit the attack that Graeme Smith said the batsmen may be "hoping for a flatter wicket" in the near future.
While the pitches have aided South Africa's bowlers, Donald said they have to be wary of complacence, which can creep in if too much is in your favour. "Sometimes when you get on a responsive wicket, you hesitantly get into your work," Donald said. "Instead of just bowling into an area, you feel you need to get into the hot-zone more often." The hot-zone refers to a length a little fuller than usual, something Morne Morkel has struggled to find.
Morkel attracted criticism rather than praise after the first Test, as he looked out of sorts at first change. Donald said all he needs is more game time and that a return to form is inevitable. "I put myself in his shoes a lot of the time. I was a rhythm bowler and a confidence bowler and I needed to bowl a lot to have that confidence and to bowl in certain areas with good pace. Morne is exactly the same. We tinkered with a few things yesterday after the day's play and I think he is now confident to take it further. We know what Morne is capable of and it's not far away that he will be knocking the door down again."
Morkel faces pressure from Marchant de Lange, who was included in the squad as part of a learning process. De Lange has only played 14 first-class matches but has been identified as a future prospect and is being personally groomed by Donald. "The good thing about Marchant is that he is asking a lot of questions," Donald said. "It's wonderful to have him in our group because it keeps everyone on their toes and challenging for places."
There have also been calls to replace Morkel with left-armer Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was dropped from the Test side before last month's Australia series. Tsotsobe has since suffered a side strain and should be ready to make his comeback soon.
The other concern is the minimal impact that legspinner Imran Tahir has made. Seamer-friendly surfaces have made it difficult for him, but he also struggled with running on the danger area of the pitch. Tahir spend the build up to the Test working with High Performance coach Vincent Barnes and former international Paul Adams, and Donald believes he is ready to create his own big splash. "He [Tahir] is happy now," Donald said. "The one thing that worried us a little bit is that he gets too concerned about what he is doing in that zone and doesn't concentrate on his bowling."
Far from a disciplinarian, Donald sees his role as facilitating getting the best out of a talented back. "At this level, you're not going to teach people how to bowl. We are trying to remind those guys how good they are and getting them to be better. Sometimes, we are still getting too loose or maybe a little too arrogant, but we manage to pull it back. Sometimes, we do not get off to a good start and at the end of the day we play catch up cricket but we pull it back somehow.
"That's the kind of class we have at the moment, even if we aren't doing well, we manage to pull it back."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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