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Posts Tagged ‘morne morkel’

There are only two Albies who I have ever been made aware of. One of them is a racist dragon (who admittedly chooses to spell his name differently), and the other is set to make his Test debut against Australia, having apparently ousted his brother from the side.

It’s a shame Albie and Morne aren’t playing alongside each other, as I would love to hear commentators constantly referring to ‘the Morkels’, which sounds like it should be a slang term for a cricket-induced delirium (much like The D.T.s are to alcohol). “England’s defensive batting is giving me a severe case of the Morkels”, people would say.

Sadly, it seems I’ll have to wait a little longer to hear Mark Nicholas and Tony Greig inadvertently christen a new psychological condition.

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At the time of writing, Australia and South Africa stand 1st and 2nd in the ICC Test rankings, so this, in theory, should be Australia’s toughest home series.

Both sides come into the series following wins over Test minnows (Bangladesh in South Africa’s case; New Zealand for Australia), but it is the sides’ relative performance on their respective tours of India that gives the tourists real hope of causing an upset.

Australia have arguably never been more vulnerable at home. As well as suffering the psychological blow of defeat to India, the home side are missing Stuart Clark and haven’t yet found their best XI. Nathan Hauritz is replaced by Jason Krezja, and Peter Siddle gets another chance to stake his claim for a Test spot

For South Africa, much hangs on the form of their fast bowlers. If Steyn and Morkel bowl as well as they are able to, then they will cause problems for the Australian batsmen. Paul Harris, who is likely to play in the First Test, will also be a crucial figure for the tourists, who – on paper at least- should have a strong enough batting lineup to cope with Australia’s makeshift attack.

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England take on South Africa in the first ODI of the series at Headingley tomorrow with a slightly re-jigged side, possibly featuring Matt Prior opening with Ian Bell, and with Owais Shah at number three.

The hosts will also make changes to their bowling line-up, partially forced by injury to Ryan Sidebottom and Chris Tremlett. Called up in their stead is Tim Bresnan. Former captain Paul Collingwood is still suspended, but Samit Patel may miss out to Luke Wright and/or Graeme Swann in the lower-middle order.

For South Africa, JP Duminy, Johan Botha and the tremendously-named Vernon Philander are all likely to play. Albie Morkel is definitely injured, and brother Morne is a doubt. Graeme Smith‘s side will be overwhelming favourites (although Duncan Fletcher is optimistic about England’s chances), and the return of Herschelle Gibbs to the side for the One-Dayers is likely to put bums on seats, as they say.

UPDATE: Harmison’s only gone and unretired himself.

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England did what all naturally pessimistic Brits would expect, and crumbled before the might of Steyn and Morkel.

Almost the only batsman to dig in once Cook and nightwatchman Anderson had gone, Stuart Broad made 67 not out. Whilst South Africa had managed to bat for two solid days on the flat track at Lord’s, Headingley offered no such favours for England.

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English batsmen should be scared. South Africa’s bowlers look menacing. Morne Morkel is picking up form at the right time, Andre ‘King of Frustration‘ Nel is as angry as ever (he has much to be angry about), and Bat-breaker Ntini could soon be yelping like a demented puppy. Oh, and there’s Dale Steyn, too.

Gulp.

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