England in SA

Morkel 'new Joel Garner'

2010-01-18 11:31
High praise (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Beanpole fast bowler Morne Morkel earned the lion’s share of praise as the British press were magnanimous on Monday about South Africa’s crushing triumph over England in the final Test at the Wanderers.

Former England player Vic Marks wrote in The Guardian: “On a pitch that had real life in it – if only there were more like this, Test cricket would be even more interesting – Morkel and Dale Steyn highlighted a gulf between the sides, which is certainly not reflected in the result of the series.

“Now 1-1 feels like a bit of a steal, while a 1-0 victory to England, notionally possible if the thunderstorms had been a bit more co-operative, would have been larceny on the grandest scale.”

Marks noted that in his “comeback” series, Morkel had been a threat throughout.

“But on a pitch that supplies steep bounce he can be (especially) lethal and intimidating even in an age where helmets and padding for just about every body part are the norm.

“If you possess Morkel’s attributes there is no point in attempting to be too clever or cunning – aiming for the top of off-stump and the odd bouncer is all that is required if the action is running smoothly.

“(West Indians) Curtly Ambrose and Joel Garner are his bowling predecessors. In another era no one ever mastered them for long. In this one, no one will master Morkel either if he continues to know where the ball is going.

“Steyn can bowl fast and he likes to bowl full to allow the opportunity for swing. And he has a nasty, skiddy bouncer for good measure.
“On this form in the last two Tests, Morkel and Steyn would surely stroll into a World XI.”

Derek Pringle, who would have faced the West Indies’ pace legends in his Test days for England, also harked back to that era in his piece for the Daily Telegraph.

“Morkel gave England’s batsmen a small taste of what it used to be like to face the West Indian quicks during their 1980s heyday.”

The pitch, he said, was “quicker and more spiteful than others in the series” and Steyn and Morkel, backed by the “slippery pace of Wayne Parnell”, were remorseless on it.

“Apart from Durban, where England played the perfect Test to beat them, South Africa were the better side.”

Paul Newman of The Daily Mail suggested: “Add the promise of Parnell and South Africa have a pace attack which could dominate the world game for years.”

He described Sunday’s play as “the most clinical of kills at the Bullring” and that this Test was “men against boys from the moment Andrew Strauss was dismissed by the first ball of the match”.

Newman said the omission of Graham Onions, consistently lively with the ball and England’s last-ditch batting saviour in two Tests, had been a glaring error in Johannesburg.

“Dropping Onions unsettled the team dynamic just as much as England claimed the inclusion of Darren Pattinson did at Headingley against South Africa in 2008.

“The England players were said to be very upset that Onions was denied the chance to complete the series with them.”


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