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Morne is playing just for Jacques

Calcutta: He made a remarkable recovery from the ankle injury he picked up in the Johannesburg Test, but Morne Morkel couldn’t help South Africa seize the opening day of the second Test, in Durban.

On a bad light-curtailed day — only 61 overs were possible — India were looking safe and sound having reached 181 for one. Murali Vijay (batting 91) and Cheteshwar Pujara (batting 58) tormented the Proteas bowlers all through the day.

Morkel said he wanted to play this Test especially because it is going to be Jacques Kallis’ last: “I got injured in the last match, but was willing to play in this one. So I had to undergo a lot of rehabilitation. It was paining even a couple of days ago, but there was no way I was going to miss this Test, especially when Kallis announced a couple of days ago that he is going to retire from Test cricket after this. It’s still feeling a bit, but overall I’m okay.”

Morkel, who took the only wicket to fall on Thursday, admitted that it was hard day in office for his team. “It has been a lot of work for us… We all were a little bit surprised by the pace of the wicket at the first place. It is one of the concerns, but we won’t make that an excuse. We need to get on with the job,” Morkel said.

Morkel said getting the ball to reverse will be the key to get wickets. “In the first couple of overs, we were guilty of giving the ball a bit more flight. There is not much swing on offer. So we need to bowl in the right areas and hit the deck hard. We have picked up a wicket bowling like that… We will have keep bowling like that and the key is to get the ball to reverse. That will bring (Dale) Steyn and (Vernon) Philander much more into the game,” he said.

He, however, didn’t criticise the wicket. “I won’t say the wicket was disappointing, as it has only been the first day of the Test. Whatever it turns out to be, we have to play well. We are the No. 1 Test side in the world and we just have to go out and play… Have to get on top, no matter what the condition is like. We will look to play positive cricket when we come out on Friday morning and try and pick up a few early wickets.”