SA quicks impress in Bangladesh

The new generation of South African quicks look all set to establish themselves among the world’s best after their impressive show in unhelpful conditions in Bangladesh.

The fastest bowler in the side, Dale Steyn, and comeback man Morne Morkel have a tough job of slipping into the shoes of their illustrious countrymen, Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock.

But both Steyn (24) and Morkel (23) are unlikely to disappoint in the days to come despite the standards set by Donald, nicknamed White Lightning for his sheer pace, and the ever reliable Pollock.

Steyn ripped through the Bangladesh top-order in the second innings in the first Test, which South Africa won by five wickets on Monday, while Morkel took the honours in the first innings with figures of 5-50.

Their effort was all the more remarkable because the wicket offered little assistance to the bowlers, unlike the pitches in South Africa, where the pace and bounce make the toil easier for the speedsters.

The performance of the duo was not lost on opposition coach Jamie Siddons, who was effusive in his praise of the South African bowling.

”The South African bowling made all the difference. I think Dale Steyn is already the best opening bowler in the world,” Siddons said after the game on Monday.

”He ripped us apart in the second innings with 150km/h outswingers, or inswingers to the left-handers.

”When your batsmen are [short] of confidence and having to play against Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel, that is a tough job. The pressure they put [us under] is too much for our batsmen at the moment. Their bowlers are just too good for our batsmen.”

Siddons said his bamboozled players were unable to tackle that sort of pace as they simply did not have such bowlers to practice against.

”We don’t have a 150km/h outswing bowler for the batsmen to practise against. They go from playing for their clubs in the national league to trying to take on the best fast bowler in the world.

”Steyn kept striking in the first few overs and we never recovered. We spent the Test match trying to recover all the time,” the Aussie said.

Steyn, who has taken 98 wickets from 19 Tests with two 10-wicket hauls, will have to pass a sterner test when he most likely tours India for a three-match series starting next month, after having missed out on the previous tour.

As for Morkel, it might still be early days to hail the bowler as he has only played two Tests so far, but his potential and promise were there for everyone to see.

Morkel has also earned praise in the past from Donald for his ability to extract bounce and bowl genuinely fast.

With Andre Nel and Makhaya Ntini completing the fast-bowling quartet, and not to forget a certain magician that is Jacques Kallis, South African bowling seems to be in safe hands. — AFP



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Abhaya Srivastava
Abhaya Srivastava is Agence France Presses South Asia special correspondent.

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