Beaten hollow in the first Test in Mohali and tricked on the first day in Bangalore, South Africa has no iota of doubt that the surface for the reminder of the series will be tailor-made for the likes of R. Ashwin, Ravinder Jadeja and Amit Mishra. And yet, it is eager to see fast bowler Dale Steyn take the field on Wednesday in the third Test.
The world’s best fast bowler, who sent down only 25 overs in Mohali and did not play the second because of a groin ailment, bowled for a while on Sunday and Monday at the VCA Stadium here much to the delight of his new ball partner Morne Morkel.
“Dale bowled this morning. It was a pleasing thing for us to see. Obviously the groin is a tricky sort of injury. So I think we will keep monitoring and give him time till 9 a.m. on Wednesday to decide.
“I think it will be a medical call. You don’t want to select a bowler who could break down and upset the combinations. It’s a bit of a tough one, but I know our medical staff will take the right call; Dale is dying to get out there, do his magic and things; fingers crossed,’’ said Morkel to the media.
The locals have seen Steyn give an exhibition of fast bowling and the most memorable was his seven for 51 and three for 57 performances in the Test played here in 2010. Straddling on Hashim Amla’s 253 and Jacques Kallis’173, South Africa rolled over the home team by an innings and six runs.
Second specialist spinner
Three years ago, England captain Alastair Cook deployed off-spinner Graeme Swann and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar to upstage India. Amla doesn’t seem to have the spin-luxury although Morkel said bolstering the team with a second specialist spinner, either Simon Harmer or Dane Piedt (both off spinners), was an option the team may look at for a pitch that was more brownish than the side pitches on the centre square.
The pitch is being prepared by a club cricketer, Amar Karlekar and he has been reported as saying that the Test match pitch will behave the same way as it did in the Ranji Trophy match between Vidarbha and Assam in October, where Vidarbha’s spinners Aditya Sarwate and Akshay Wakhare took eight wickets each in a winning cause.
Other highlights of Morkel’s press interaction:
On Marchant de Lange: He likes to bowl a heavy ball. He can be quite tricky to face. Marchant knows what he has to do.
Confidence level: We’re the No. 1 Test team in the world. So the language in the team room is very positive. We’re starting fresh on Wednesday. We’ve got to come in, deliver and play. Hopefully we will have five days of good Test cricket.
On Hashim Amla: He is a rock for us and he’s hungry to score runs. He’s been hitting a lot of balls. Hopefully his time will come in this Test match.
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