We can be effective without Morne Morkel as well, says Graeme Smith

Morne Morkel has been the main support bowler to Dale Steyn, but skipper Graeme Smith does not feel it would impact his team very much if the pacer missed the Durban Test.

Updated: December 26, 2013 05:37 IST
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South African Test skipper Graeme Smith spoke about fast bowler Morne Morkel's fitness levels and the bowling combination on the eve of the Durban Test against India.

Morne Morkel's chances of playing in the second Test were put in jeopardy after he twisted his ankle on the field during the first Test at Johannesburg. South Africa can turn to Rory Klienveldt or Kyle Abbott in case he fails to regain complete fitness. (Durban Test preview)

"The fitness of the fast bowler would play a role in the make-up of the bowling attack for the Test. We need to see how Morne comes through his fitness test and then decide what's going to be our best attack to win a test match," Smith said while addressing the media in Durban on Tuesday.

However, he also went on to say that South Africa will be well covered even if Morkel is not fit.

"I feel we have enough basic covered to still be effective even if he's not fit," he added.

As far as spinner Imran Tahir is concerned, since the Durban wicket is not essentially known to assist spinners and the fact that he did not enjoy a great outing in Johannesburg, South Africa could be tempted to turn back to Robin Peterson.

"I think we'll make the decision on how we feel the wicket will play throughout the five days, not just one day,' he added.

Smith also hinted at an all-pace attack and said, "The Wanderers historically is a difficult place for a spinner to bowl. There is also the option of playing an all-pace attack with slow-bowling duties cast on JP Duminy."

Despite an injury to such a major bowling option, Smith said that his side have been fortunate in the recent past to not have any of their bowlers sidelined due to injury.

"I think we've been really fortunate over the last period of time that we haven't had too many serious injuries to our frontline seamers," Smith said.

Talking about the game in hand, Smith acknowledged the fact that South Africa have not played at their best in Durban. They have conceded their last four Tests at the venue and their last victory came against the West Indies almost six years ago. Smith felt the poor record was down to the team's inability to adapt.

"Overall we haven't had the best record in Durban and we're looking forward to the opportunity to put that right now. One of the reasons why is because we haven't adapted to the surface very well but we've had good discussions over that now."

After being booed by their own fans when South Africa shut shop with 16 runs to get from three overs in the first Test, Smith spoke of the importance of regrouping and looking ahead.

"It's been an interesting few days emotionally. I think as a team, perspective is always important and putting things into context; understanding what needs to be done. I feel we're mentally ready. Hopefully we'll be ready for Boxing Day."

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