Morne Morkel says the pitch for the second Test against India has been the toughest he has ever bowled on at Centurion.
The Titans speedster has plenty of experience of playing at SuperSport Park, having taken 32 wickets in eight Tests on the ground.
He took three wickets on day three of this Test, including that of Virat Kohli (153), ending with figures of 4-60 in 22 overs.
‘I have played cricket here all my life and I’ve never seen a wicket like this at SuperSport Park,’ said Morkel. ‘It was really hard work in the heat, in these conditions. It was really tough and was one of the hardest spells I bowled here.
‘The pitch has a very sub-continent feel to it: tough scoring, tough to get people out. It’s definitely not the sort of conditions we wanted here in South Africa this week.’
Morkel admitted that the pace in the wicket was frustrating, as several balls fell short of the slips.
‘You have a small little window with the new ball. Besides the first hour in the morning, when the ball is a little bit quicker, most likely because the pitch is under cover overnight, there is actually no pace in the wicket. The pavilion end is quite tennis-ball bouncy, so it is important to come up with different game plans.
‘It helped that we had some runs on the board to try different things, but from a bowling point of view it was definitely not the ideal surface.’
The 33-year-old was content with his side’s performance.
‘It was important for us to get the breakthrough. As a bowling unit, we stuck to our guns and kept running in on a difficult surface, asking questions.
‘With the bat, after losing two early wickets, Dean [Elgar] and AB [de Villiers] played superbly. Having a lead of over 100 overnight is satisfying.’
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