Proteas counting on Morkel, Abbott to step up

2015-11-13 15:05
Kyle Abbott (Gallo Images)

Bangalore - South Africa are counting on Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel to make up for injured new-ball bowlers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander against India in the second Test starting on Saturday.

Steyn was ruled out on Friday with a groin injury sustained during the opening Test at Mohali, where India won by 108 runs. Philander will miss the rest of the series after tearing left ankle ligaments in a freak accident while playing football in training.

Abbott, who hasn't played a Test in 11 months, has joined the team, while Morkel has recovered from a leg injury sustained during the preceding one-day international series.

"Losing Dale, one of the best bowlers in the world, and Philander, arguably the best all-rounder in the world, certainly changes the dynamics of the team," Amla said on Friday.

"But the guys who will replace them are quality cricketers. We are fortunate to have great depth in our side."

Amla said Abbott, who was part of the side for the limited-overs leg of the tour, was the right man to replace Philander since he could use the conditions well.

"Kyle has been one of our outstanding reserve bowlers in the last couple of years," he said.

"He is similar to Vernon, in the sense that he is consistent in where he lands the ball, and you know what you will get."

Amla said that though his team would like it if the ball does swing, as is expected in the overcast conditions seen here over the past few days, one could not underestimate the India pace bowlers.

"I'll have a look at the pitch tomorrow but with the conditions and moisture around, it does not seem like the (usual dry) Mohali pitch," he said.

"But they have some good pace bowlers, too, and let's not rule them out."

Meanwhile, India was boosted by the return of experienced pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who missed the opening Test due to a one-match ban imposed for bad behavior on a tour of Sri Lanka.

"He has bowled well in sub-continent conditions, knows how to reverse swing the ball, can lead the pace attack," India captain Virat Kohli said.

"I would rather have a guy who will give me control at an important time in the game rather than someone who will just get the overs out of the way."

India spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja grabbed eight wickets each at Mohali, with legspinner Amit Mishra also bowling well. But Kohli felt pace bowlers would have a big role during the remainder of the four-Test series.

"It's important for the three guys bowling the most of the overs to have two guys after them who can also maintain the same momentum, and control the run-rate as well. The combination can or will change according to the conditions," he said.

Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron were the pace bowlers at Mohali.

India added uncapped all-rounder Gurkeerat Singh Mann, more of a limited-overs player handy with his offspin bowling. But he is considered mainly as a reserve, as a few others may be relieved during the Test to play in domestic cricket.

Read more on:    proteas  |  kyle abbott  |  morne morkel  |  cricket

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