South African pacer Morne Morkel said he expected a short ball barrage aimed at Michael Clarke in the second Test at Adelaide in a bid to stop the Australian captain’s run spree.
The tall Morkel said, better use of the rising ball and denying Clarke scoring singles, were part of South Africa’s planning for Australia’s in-form leader ahead of the Test.
Morkel says they had to be smarter in their approach to Clarke, after his unbeaten double-century in the first Brisbane Test.
Clarke was named the man-of-the-match in Brisbane for his third double-century of the year, his unbeaten 259 which turned the match away from the South Africans over the closing two days after coming with his team wobbling at 40 for three on third day.
The Australian skipper is the highest scorer in Tests this year with 1,041 runs and averaging 115.66.
“Any batsman struggles a bit at first with the short ball so we will probably come up with game plans and start working on those sorts of things,” said Morkel.
“Definitely that is a plan to always use a short ball-you have got two short balls an over so why not use it.
“We just need to use it in a clever way and see how we go from there.”
Morkel said the South Africans had to put Clarke under greater pressure in Adelaide.
“He played very, very well. If we can create more pressure and try and stop him from rotating strike that will be the key.”
Morkel said the South Africans would also address their costly spate of no balls in the Brisbane Test, where the bowlers over-stepped 23 times.
Morkel was denied Ed Cowan’s wicket because of a no ball while Australian quicks Peter Siddle and James Pattinson also lost wickets due to no balls.
“It’s a controllable,” said Morkel.
“It is something I personally have been working hard on. The stats show we have been bowling quite a lot (of no balls) over the past few Test matches and Test series so it’s definitely a thing that we are targeting at the moment.”
Watson injury scare
Meanwhile, Australian vice-captain Shane Watson said he was hopeful of proving himself fit for the second Test, but he has ruled out any possibility he might bowl in the match.
All-rounder Watson, troubled by a calf injury, batted and did some light fielding at training and will need to intensify his workload before the start of play.
“So far so good. I jogged around the field and got a bat as well-got through fine,” said Watson.
“At this point in time, the most important thing is to be able to run consistently without really hurting it so bowling at this point of time is out.
“For me, it’s just getting out to run around and do the skills I need to do to be fit to play as a batsman to start with.” — AFP