Sri Lanka in SA

Rudolph, Morkel on early duty

2011-12-21 22:16
Morne Morkel and Jacques Rudolph (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Proteas' Jacques Rudolph and Morne Morkel have started their preparations for the second Test against Sri Lanka slightly earlier than the rest of their team-mates.

GALLERY: 2011 in review

According to the Beeld newspaper, coach Gary Kirsten ordered the two to travel to Durban before the rest of the players arrive to get some extra practice after both struggled in the last three Tests.

With the rest of the South African team only arriving on Friday, Rudolph and Morkel had their first training session in Kingsmead's nets on Wednesday morning, with Morkel bowling to Rudolph.

Rudolph sustained an injury to the little finger on his left hand while fielding against Sri Lanka but, despite having the finger heavily strapped during his net session, he said it was not causing him any discomfort.

“It’s not sore. There was just a slight cut which was the only concern but I haven’t had any trouble. It’s my left-hand pinkie so it is out of the way with the way I hold my bat,” he told SuperSport.com.

Rudolph has had a tough return to Test cricket. In two Tests against Australia and the match against Sri Lanka he scored only 130 runs in five innings but showed some form as he battled his way to 44 off 140 balls in South Africa’s first innings against Sri Lanka.

Rudolph said he tried too hard against Australia but that he had adopted a more cautious approach against the Lankans.

“The lesson I learnt out of the Australian series was that I so badly wanted to do well that you sometimes get a bit of ahead of yourself.

“My strike-rate in the (Sri Lanka) Test was quite low but of the first 25 balls I faced only about four or five balls were bowled at me and the rest were wide. It was the kind of wicket that required a lot of discipline because if you got ahead of yourself on that wicket you could easily get out,” he explained.

Despite all three Tests so far being played in bowler-friendly conditions, Rudolph said it was no excuse not to score runs.

“It has been difficult but you still have to go out there and score runs. For example, Graeme’s (Smith) innings at Newlands (against Australia) when he got a hundred on a green wicket and Hashim (Amla) has two hundreds. It’s not that you can’t score runs I just think that you have to be very particular with your discipline and be meticulous with where you want to score your runs,” he said.

Morkel has also had a torrid time of late, taking only six wickets at a costly average of 38.66 in South Africa's first three Tests this season.

But Rudolph feels their early net session will help the lanky fast bowler.

“He bowled a little bit within himself but he bowled in really good areas. All of us just want to keep on improving,” said Rudolph.

Meanwhile, Beeld also reports that seamers, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, pitched up for practice at the Cobras' practice session on Wednesday under the guidance of Paddy Upton, the Proteas' psychologist.

The left-handed swing bowler, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, has also been added to the Proteas' squad and will travel with the side to Durban.

The second Test at Kingsmead starts on Monday (December 26).

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