South African pacer Morne Morkel, on Monday, said that the Proteas camp are well aware of the fierce celebration of Virat Kohli after every fall of the wicket or his ton, therefore it can’t deter or dent the morale of the hosts. However, Morkel is not pleased with Centurion track, saying there's a very subcontinental feel to it and it's tough to score and get people out there.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Morkel told reporters after Monday’s play in Centurion, “Virat is very competitive. They are over here to compete and they’ve got a team that could potentially beat South Africa for the first time here. That’s his nature. It gets him going and keeps him going. We’re well aware of that but we don’t take any notice of it.”
Jasprit Bumrah, who made his Test debut in the Cape Town Test, took two wickets on Day 2 of the ongoing second Test and for which Morkel credited Indian seamer for possessing the perfect action for a Centurion wicket. On being asked why Proteas weren’t trying a straighter line like Bumrah, Morked replied, “Bumrah has got the perfect action for this sort of wicket. He is very skiddy. Talking to our batters and doing some preparation before the Test match, we’ve got our game plans. There’s a very fine line when you bowl to them of coming too straight."
The pacer has played a lot of cricket here at SuperSport Park, but he hasn’t witnessed such pitch in his career the way it has played so far, saying the lack of pace was the most frustrating thing about this Centurion pitch.
When asked about pitch and ground conditions, Morkel replied, “100 percent. It's unheard of that a spinner bowls that amount of overs on the first day. We even took the option to open in the over before lunch with a spinner (on day two). There's a very subcontinental feel to it. It's tough scoring, tough to get people out. Luckily we've got some experience of that in the bank. But they are not the conditions that we want here in South Africa.”
The 33-year-old pacer further added on the Centurion Pitch, “I’ve played cricket here all my life, and I’ve never seen a wicket like this at the SuperSport Park. It was really hard work. In the heat, with conditions really tough, it was right up there with one of the hardest spells I’ve bowled. You’ve got a small little window with the new ball. I think the first hour in the mornings, the reason might be because it’s under covers overnight, but in the first hour, the balls seems a little bit quicker off the deck. But after that, there’s actually been no pace in the wicket. Especially from the pavilion end, I found it’s very tennis ball bouncy. So yeah, it’s important to come out with different sorts of game plans.”
Although the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, time will tell the future of the hosts in the second Test and how the hosts will overcome the Indian attack in Centurion, as South Africa ends Day 3 at 92/2 with a lead of 118 runs at SuperSport Park.