The Proteas must bowl first in the third Test at Newlands and give the ball to the red-hot Morné Morkel.
The West Indies’ batting was much improved in the second Test at St George’s Park. Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels showed some ticker to not only cope with the likes of Dale Steyn and Morkel, but to do so for a period of 48 overs.
While this will give the tourists’ confidence, the West Indies would be foolish to believe that they now have the measure of South Africa’s fast bowlers. Runs were hard to come by in Port Elizabeth, but so too were wickets. The track at Newlands should be more conducive to seam bowling, and I expect somebody like Morkel will be more dangerous than ever.
Dale Steyn has been a consistent performer for the Proteas over the years, and is easily the most skilled of the bowlers in the current set-up. However, I’ve long considered Morkel a bowler with plenty of potential. He’s a very different bowler to Steyn in that he’s capable of generating bounce as well as express pace. And when he can do so consistently on a pitch that offers assistance, he is going to do significant damage.
The West Indies won the toss at Centurion and St George’s Park. On both occasions, Denesh Ramdin asked South Africa to bat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner of the toss at Newlands this Friday followed suit. Conditions should be good for bowling. If Hashim Amla succeeds in winning the toss, then he shouldn’t hesitate in asking his bowlers to get stuck into the West Indies top order.
At this point, I wouldn’t change that combination. Morkel will be a factor at Newlands, as will Steyn and Philander. Steyn and Philander were not as effective at St George’s Park, but I expect they will be a different prospect on a Newlands track that is doing a bit.
That said, you can’t go to Newlands without a specialist spinner, and it’s for this reason the Proteas would do well to stick with Imran Tahir. What needs to change, however, is Tahir’s approach.
He bowled poorly on day three and for much of day four at St George’s Park. He had some success after tea on day four, when he took three quick wickets, but he really needs to be more consistent and controlled in the coming Test.
At the moment, it seems as if Tahir is trying to do too much. I would like to see him sticking to one type of delivery for a period of two to three overs at a time. He needs to stick to the leg-spinner and used the googly more sparingly. He must build some pressure on the batsman before employing the change delivery.
At St George’s Park, there was just too much variation from South Africa’s spinner. If Tahir bowls with more discipline and less variation at Newlands, he will be a handful.
Graeme Pollock played 23 Tests for South Africa, scoring 2256 runs at an average (60.97) that remains second only to Don Bradman’s. He was voted South Africa’s Player of the 20th century in 1999, and inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009.
Due to a series of health problems that have impacted on his financial position, Pollock is now reaching out to fans in hope of some support. If you are able to contribute to his Trust in any way, please do not hesitate to call his agent Basil O’Hagan on 083 4124459 or make a deposit, however small, to the following Trust Fund.
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