Cape Town - The variation of pace on a
dry turning pitch was the key for Simon Harmer as the Proteas
bowled India out for 215 on the opening day of the third Test match at the
Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on Wednesday.
4 for 78 in an all-round bowling contribution led by Morne Morkel, who
stepped up in the absence of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander to lead the attack
with figures of 3 for 35 in another fast-moving match.
The 26-year-old Harmer,
playing in only his fifth Test, may have shown some of the inconsistency
that comes with inexperience, but also encouraging potential and control
looking ahead to the remainder of the match in deteriorating conditions.
“I found it difficult to adjust to
the correct pace,” Harmer said of his spell upfront. “I
think I was a little slow at the beginning of my spell, I wouldn’t say I was
struggling to adjust to line or lengths. I think pace on this wicket was vital,
so I was trying to find my feet at the beginning of my spell.
“The biggest thing is
not trying too hard, I think there were stages today where I did, and that’s
where I started to leak runs,” he admitted. “It’s about finding a rhythm, a
line and length that works, and a pace. It’s about keeping the batsmen thinking
the whole time with field placings, your speed, mixing it up, I think that’s
the biggest thing.”
Morkel bowled a brilliant
spell after lunch to lead the Indian crumble, but Harmer, Imran Tahir and
Kagiso Rabada provided good support with crucial wickets at the other end.
Morkel limped off after suffering some cramps but received treatment and should
be given the green light to bowl in the second innings.
Harmer meanwhile, has
embraced his baptism of fire on the sub-continent, and says although he has had
to adapt to bowling on spin-friendly conditions, he has had to make no major
adjustments to coming on early in the innings.
“Professional sport and cricket is
about adapting,” he said. “The biggest thing is you
come into the game much earlier, where in a normal Test you start bowling after
lunch. Here, once the seamers have bowled one spell, you come into the game. In
terms of the spinners, you adjust your line and lengths because the wicket is
turning, but in terms of bowling before lunch instead of after lunch there is
not much adjusting.”