Morkel fit as tourists pon­der four-prong at­tack for Perth

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ex­pe­ri­enced South African quick Morne Morkel has been de­clared fit to face Aus­tralia in the first test in Perth as the tourists pon­der un­leash­ing a four-strong pace at­tack at the WACA.

The Proteas have won on their last two vis­its to the WACA on their way to series tri­umphs in Aus­tralia and are full of con­fi­dence ahead of to­day’s start to the three-test series.

Faf du Plessis, who is stand­ing in as skip­per for the in­jured AB de Vil­liers, de­clined to fol­low his Aus­tralia coun­ter­part Steve Smith by nam­ing his side yes­ter­day, leav­ing the hosts to guess whether they would play a spin­ner or not. Dale Steyn is cer­tain to spear­head the pace at­tack with Ver­non Phi­lan­der and ex­cit­ing young­ster Kag­iso Rabada likely to sup­port him with the po­ten­tial fourth spot go­ing to Kyle Ab­bott or Morkel. Morkel played the last of his 71 tests in Jan­uary and has strug­gled with a back in­jury since but du Plessis said he was ready to go. “He has been work­ing ex­tremely hard to get back to full fit­ness,” he told re­porters at the WACA.

“He’s been try­ing to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble and he has been bowl­ing re­ally well, so he is def­i­nitely in con­tention.”

Steyn is only six wick­ets away from sur­pass­ing Shaun Pol­lock as South Africa’s most pro­lific test wicket taker and du Plessis said he hoped the 33year-old would notch up his 422nd vic­tim in Perth.

“Dale’s got so much knowl­edge in­side of him and he’s been bril­liant,” he said.

“He’s had his shoul­der prob­lems of late but he’s an im­por­tant bowler for us in this series and, hope­fully, he can stay strong right through the series. We need him.” Whether South Africa go with four quicks will prob­a­bly de­pend on whether they think the WACA will of­fer its tra­di­tional pace and bounce or the bats­man’s par­adise that was pro­duced for the visit of the West Indies last year.

“It looked like it was a bit harder to­day,” du Plessis said. “The pre­vi­ous three days, it was quite soft and green still.” Grounds­man Matt Page said he thought it would be a strip in keep­ing with the tra­di­tions of the ground.

“Ev­ery­thing we try to pro­duce has that pace and bounce, every­one wants to come here or turn on the TV and see that ball fly­ing through to the wick­et­keeper,” he told re­porters. “That’s what we try and pre­pare.” — Reuters

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