South Africa v West Indies, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 4th day December 29, 2014

'We can still win' - Morkel

Morne Morkel: "When conditions are like today, it's important to use aggression." © Gallo Images

"Hey Morkel... Keep going round the wicket."

Marlon Samuels cut short his post-day press conference to offer South Africa's fast bowler some advice and send a room already giggling from his earlier utterances into yet another gurgling gaggle.

Samuels had greeted the room by incorrectly correcting West Indies media manager Philip Spooner, who introduced him as having scored his sixth Test century. "It's eight," Samuels insisted. It is in fact six but nobody dared tell Samuels that.

Then, the Jamaican dismissed the threat not just of Imran Tahir - who he had every right to disregard having hit him for 61 runs off 61 balls - but of all other spinners too. "I don't think any spinner can bowl to me and dictate terms," Samuels said. Nobody argued.

Neither will Morne Morkel after Samuels' quip, because the angle has worked for the fast bowler in this match. Attempting to break the partnership that seemed to stand between South Africa and success, Morkel peppered both Samuels and Kraigg Brathwaite with short balls from round the wicket, hitting the former on the side of his head and having the latter fending deliveries off his ribs.

"When conditions are like today, it's important to use aggression," Morkel said. "It's quite hard to duck on this wicket and it would have been boring if I'd kept going coming over the wicket and bowling outside off stump. We needed to get something going. I knew that if I went round the wicket and could get something going, it would fire Dale (Steyn) up, it would fire Vernon (Philander) up."

It also seemed to fire up Tahir. The legspinner, rendered ineffective by conditions, had been barely able to keep his end quiet but after Samuels and Brathwaite were removed, he struck twice in three balls to breathe life into his own performance and South Africa's. Tahir's two wickets and three others which fell in the space of 26 minutes have given South Africa reason to believe they can wrap up the series on the final day, even though they will need to take 11 wickets and score quickly to do so.

"Things can happen very quickly," Morkel said. "If we bat quickly - and we have guys like AB (de Villiers) who can score runs quickly - and we have enough overs, we can still win. It's never nice to have to survive 50 or 60 overs."

Especially when a significant number of them will be bowled by Steyn, who remains wicketless in the first innings. "You know Dale Steyn," Morkel said. So do West Indies. After Steyn failed to make any incisions in the first innings in Centurion, he claimed six in quick time in the second. Morkel believed Steyn could do the same with the new ball, which South Africa will have available after an over on the final morning and in the second innings.

But Samuels felt that the least West Indies can do is survive following a vastly improved performance from the first Test, despite several missed chances on the first day. "If we had taken those chances, it would have been a totally different game but this is the Test match we are looking to play against a No.1 team," Samuels said. "If there wasn't any rain, I think we would put up a very good challenge against the No. 1 team."

He also had a warning for South Africa that the man they have been able to remove without much trouble so far could end up causing them plenty in the rest of the series. "When a guy like (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul don't get any runs in two games, look out for him in the third game." Or maybe even the second innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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