Pain with no gain as India bash Proteas
Morkel injury weakens bowling, Indian pair take full advantage
ing a lovely catch at second slip diving to his right.
The injury befell Morné Morkel, who was sprinting around the boundary and twisted his right ankle. He had to be helped from the field with an MRI scan confirming a “Grade 1 ankle sprain.”
Morkel won’t bowl again according to team manager Mohammed Moosajee, but will bat “if absolutely necessary”.
“The recovery period is usually 7-10 days and he is doubtful for the second Test starting in Durban in less than a week’s time,” Moosajee added.
Morkel’s absence had an enormous impact for the remainder of the day. Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara continued their watchful approach, as balls outside offstump were left well alone, and when the South Africans did straighten their lines, they were clipped through the legside. That second wicket partnership added 70 in two hours and though ended by a poor error from Vijay, it provided the foundation from which India were able to take the game away from South Africa.
Pujara was sublime. He may not like the comparisons with Rahul Dravid, but watching him bat yesterday, one couldn’t help but agree with those observations. A feature of his play in both innings’ in this match was how well he left the ball.
It’s a sort of ‘ throw-back’ version of batting. Watch, leave, watch, leave, hour after hour and wait for the bowler to deliver the ball where you want him to, or to tire.
The post-tea sessions over the last two days have belonged to India – on Thursday, their bowlers inflicted that awful collapse of 16/5 in 39 balls. Yesterday Pujara and Kohli batted India into a position of superiority.
They’re both elegant players – Pujara scored all around the wicket, producing some elegant drives through the cover region, while taking advantage when the South Africans bowled on his legs to nudge the ball through mid-wicket.
The care he displayed early in his innings was replaced by more flamboyance later, as the bowlers, with the exception of Philander, wilted.
Dale Steyn was strangely flat. He was unable to find a way to effectively put the Indians under pressure as they chose to leave the ball, and over-used the bouncer again – wickets in this match have come when the ball’s been pitched up.
The spinners were dreadful. It’s one thing to be hit off your length, it’s quite another to serve up helpings of full tosses as Imran Tahir did yesterday, or half-trackers.
JP Duminy and Tahir conceded 97 runs from 22 overs, their failure to keep a lid on the run rate further underscoring how much the South Africans missed Morkel.
By the end Pujara – ‘The New Wall’ – and Kohli’s partnership was 191 and they were making the Wanderers look more like the Wankhede.
PROTEAS PUNISHED: Cheteshwar Pujara, right, celebrates his 100 for India at the Wanderers. He went on to score 135 not out, sharing an unbroken stand of 191 with batting partner Virat Kohli.