#SAvWI: Morne Morkel inspired WIndies collapse revives Proteas hopes

Morne Morkel kept South African victory hopes alive in spite of the adverse weather conditions as West Indies suffered a collapse that saw seven wickets fall for 44 runs off 83 balls on the fourth day of the second Sunfoil Test match at St. George’s Park on Monday.

At the close of another shortened day during which only 35 overs could be bowled the West Indies were tottering on 275/9 for a first innings deficit of 142 runs.

There are only 98 overs left in the match, weather permitting, but there is still a chance of the Proteas piling on the runs before lunch and then leaving themselves with two sessions to take 10 wickets. It would be a tall order but the Proteas have always backed themselves to overcome such obstacles.

At one stage it looked as though the West Indies might even lead on the first innings as Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels both scored centuries and shared a West Indies third wicket record against the Proteas of 176 that improved on the previous best of 160 by Brian Lara and Shiv Chanderpaul at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in 1998.

It was Brathwaite’s third Test century (106 off 186 balls, 12 fours) and Samuels’ sixth (101 off 160 balls, 14 fours and a six). It was a tail of two contrasting innings as Brathwaite played a traditional opening batsman’s knock while Samuels, who struggled against the short-pitched attack of the South African seamers, launched a successful attack on the spin of Imran Tahir for most of his boundaries.

Morne Morkel was unquestionably the star of the South African attack. None of the batsmen looked comfortable against his sustained aggression and accuracy. He started the day with a perfect Yorker that Samuels did well to dig out and he never looked back on his way to figures of 4/69 in 20 overs.

Once Vernon Philander and Morkel had got rid of the two centurions Imran Tahir swept through the lower order as he has done so often in the past. His victims included the key wicket of Chanderpaul to finish with 3/108 in 26 overs.

The adverse weather hasn’t just cost the Proteas valuable time; it also made it almost impossible with a wet ball and outfield for them to get reverse swing that has proved to be so important for them at this venue in the past.

Morne Morkel says his aggressive intent with the ball was the catalyst behind an inspired bowling performance that has given the Castle Lager Proteas some hope of a result in the rain-hit Sunfoil Test match against the West Indies at St George’s Park.

Morkel unleashed a short- pitched barrage, particularly on centurions Marlon Samuels (101) and Kraigg Brathwaite (106) throughout the day, and finished with four for 69 to give the Proteas a glimmer of hope with one day to play.

“When conditions are like today it’s important to use your aggression,” he said after a frustrating day of rain interruptions. “I felt personally that it was quite hard to duck on this wicket so coming around the wicket and banging it in short with the use of some aggression was key for me.

“It would have been boring staying over the wicket and bowling off-stump with the wicket being on the slow side,” he continued. “We needed to create something, we needed to break the partnership; we needed to get something going. Normally when I start bowling well around the wicket it fires Dale (Steyn) up and fires Vern (Philander) up. It was important for me this morning to start well and to get the guys going.”

The weather forecast for Tuesday is a lot brighter than the last couple of days, and Morkel insists the Proteas will be pitching up with nothing other than victory on their mind with a minimum of 98 overs to play.

“Definitely,” Morkel said when asked if South Africa could still win the game. “We have seen in the past against England and those sort of teams that things can happen very quickly. If we can start off well tomorrow, put some runs on the board and bat quite quickly we can have enough overs to bowl at them. It’s never nice surviving 50 or 60 overs so let’s hope for some good weather tomorrow, it’s going to be a cracking day.”

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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