The flat decks in India no longer worry pacers, said South Africa captain Graeme Smith as he attributed Dale Steyn’s devastating form in the first cricket Test against India to a changed mindset of not letting conditions dictate bowling.
Steyn was the fast swinger, in and out, as compared to Morkel who tried to hit the deck with his lanky frame and get the ball to snort at the batsmen even on a slow VCA stadium track in Jamtha.
The secret to their success lay in not allowing themselves to be defeated mentally by the flat decks confronting them.
Smith said the changed mindset of his fast bowlers is one of the reasons for their success.
“I think mindset is crucial coming here. If you come here thinking I would bowl one spell as best as I can and (that for) the next spell...the wicket is flat and the spinners should be doing the job...(then you are will not succeed). I think it’s about taking responsibility for your position. It’s not always it’s going to come off,” he said.
“I think the fast bowlers, in particular, have come here with a good and positive mindset that they can contribute on this tour,” he said.
“I think having just popped in playing for South Africa they look to do well. The mindset within the team is crucial. That’s the mindset this current pack has and probably has had before,” Smith elaborated.
Steyn too had talked about the importance of having positive mindset before the commencement of the Test and said the change had come about after the spanking he, Morkel and Makhaya Ntini got from India’s Virender Sehwag in Chennai on their previous visit in 2008.
The Delhi dasher pulverised the Proteas attack slamming an unbelievable 42 fours and 5 sixes in his career-best knock of 319 that came off just 304 deliveries.
“It was definitely not the pitches, it was the mind frame that we definitely got into. I am not giving everything away here, we still have got to play two Test matches against him.
But whenever we go out to bowl in the Test match, you will obviously see what’s going to be coming his way,” Steyn elaborated ahead of the series opener in which he took 10 for 107, including a career-best 7 for 51 in the first innings.
It contrasted sharply with his figures in Chennai when the speedster conceded 103 runs for four wickets in India’s massive score of 627 built around Sehwag’s masterpiece. Steyn later ended up with 15 wickets in the drawn three-Test rubber.
Morkel, who gave Steyn admirable support, had stated that the strength of the Proteas lay in their ability to hit the deck hard. “We got bowlers who can bowl 145 kph. One of the strengths of our fast bowlers is to run up and bowl short. Why not use it,” he said.