On a infamous Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, where spinners ruled a roost, one pacer finished life formidable for a Indian batsman. Morne Morkel’s match-figures of 6/54, were a second best after Ravichandran Ashwin, a bowler who has been unplayable on a lane where puffs of dirt came off and a round incited from a initial over of a game.
Ahead of fourth Test during a Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, a concentration once again is not on a high quick bowler from Transvaal. The pitch, Dale Steyn’s aptness and a spinners from both side are a articulate points. However, those who have watched Morkel closely feel he can again be a hazard to a Indian tip order. Among those who are tender by his brave efforts in Nagpur are former India quick bowlers: Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.
The duo, after all, know a thing or dual about bowling on such nonchalant marks for quick bowlers in India. Often a twin would grind divided in a 1990s, while it would be Anil Kumble, a lead spinner, who would finish adult with some-more wickets opposite his name.
“It’s not easy what he did in Nagpur,” says Srinath, praising Morkel’s effort. “For someone who bowls brief day in day out, to adjust and change lengths was a good thing. Adaptability is a pivotal of course, and that comes with experience. With a new round in a second innings, he started bowling cutters most before a retreat representation could set in,” Srinath says.
Prasad, who used to be Srinath’s new-ball partner, explains since a lanky speedster got his scalps on a delayed representation with low bounce. “Morkel bowled smartly,” Prasad said. He adds that Morkel, with his tallness and disconcerting length,will be a some-more formidable tender than Steyn.
“I would contend Morkel is some-more formidable to play on these pitches than Steyn. This is since Steyn pitches it adult and gives we a pushing length. If we cover a swing, we can play your shots. Morkel, on a other hand, is fundamentally a back-of-a-length bowler who hits a deck. Sometimes, batsmen are held in no-man’s land – they’re uncertain about possibly to go brazen or stay back. Also, since of his height, Morkel extracts some-more bounce, creation it really formidable to play him on a front foot,” he adds.
It’s easier pronounced than done. In a fours days of cricket preceding a Nagpur Test, spinners from both teams had dominated a proceedings. All of a sudden, he was in a thick of a action, some-more so since of a deficiency of Dale Steyn — South Africa’s wrecker-in-chief during their final tour during this venue.
After removing initial use of a wicket, South Africa’s premier quick bowler found it formidable to strike a straps. On a slowish wicket, he started off by bowling to his strengths — join honest corroborated by good gait and only brief of a good length. It was a apparent ploy for Morkel, that had fetched him dividends in his 8-year general career.
However, a indolent lane did not yield him with any assistance. In his opening spell — that consisted of 4 overs — he frequency looked like discouraging possibly Murali Vijay or Shikhar Dhawan. The shorter Morkel bowled, a easier a round would lay up, assisting Vijay and Dhawan to play a plane shots to good effect. The rather uneventful initial spell did not deter Morkel though.
By a time he had returned for his second spell — hardly half an hour before lunch — India had already nosed ahead. A 50-run opening mount between Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan had given hosts a ideal platform. Morkel began by altering his length — bowling most fuller, and a disintegrating Nagpur wicket helped him retreat a round as early as in a 20th over. Morkel’s change in devise supposing him present results.
In a second round of a 22nd over, Morkel bowled a fullish delivery. It changed divided late, and a Tamil Nadu opener attempted to work it on a on-side, nonetheless finished adult removing beaten by a pointy late movement. The round thudded onto his pads. Vijay was adjudged LBW. India were 69/2 before lunch. Getting India’s batting buttress before lunch had brought parity.
Sensing an opening, Morkel motionless to go for a kill. Post lunch, he continued bowling fuller lengths, and with one side of a round roughed up, he tested Pujara and Kohli with a reversing deliveries.
A pointy outswinger from Morkel, brought about an corner from Ajinkya Rahane. Luckily for India, a corner would land only brief of a slips. Rahane’s stay was shortlived though. India’s No.5 was expecting nonetheless another outswinger from Morkel. Instead, a round darted behind in off a seam, and Rahane played down a wrong line to get his stumps castled. Two overs later, India captain Kohli was dismantled by another Morkel outswinger. In an try to go for an expanded expostulate by a covers, Kohli finished adult nicking it to a keeper. All of a sudden, from 1/69, India had slumped to 5/116 in a space of 18 overs.
A elementary tweak in skeleton worked wonders for Morkel. The change in length had taken a Indian batsmen off guard. The 31-year-old’s three-wicket detonate in a afternoon event swung a movement behind in foster of a visitors.
“That’s how we round in these conditions. There’s no specific approach, nonetheless it is critical to play with a batsman’s mind. You will always get haven representation due to a inlet of a pitches. It’s critical to keep one side shiny. Different bowlers have opposite strategies…but a categorical thing is that we always have to keep a batsman guessing and be one step ahead,” Prasad added.
And Morkel was one large walk forward of them.
(Inputs: Shamik Chakrabarty)