No respite as South Africa bowlers continue to struggle vs India | cricket | Hindustan Times
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No respite as South Africa bowlers continue to struggle vs India

Despite having four pacers – Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehluwayo, South Africa struggled to trouble India’s Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the 5th ODI.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2018 00:11 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Port Elizabeth
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Indian cricket team
South African bowlers have struggled against the likes of India captain Virat Kohli in the ongoing ODI series.(AFP)

Once again, South Africa struggled to get through India’s top order after getting an early wicket. With four pacers – Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehluwayo, the hosts struggled to trouble the India batsmen as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma got going. In the last game, they had played Chris Morris, making it a five-pronged pace attack. (India vs South Africa 5th ODI blog | Scorecard)

While all of them are quick bowlers, with the exception of Phehlukwayo, and can lift the ball, they do not bring about variety that is needed on these kind of surfaces, which are good for batting. The bowlers are similar, banking on line and length with a bit of pace and bounce.

In the last ODI series played between the two teams here in 2013, the hosts had the likes Dale Steyn and even fielded a left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe. While Steyn provided swing and movement, Tsotsobe provided angle and Morkel brought in bounce.

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In the current series, South Africa have needed the services of JP Duminy to provide some kind of variety, and he has done a reasonably good job as lead spinner Imran Tahir struggled to get going.

The India bowling attack, in contrast, has got variety. Bhuvneshwar Kumar can move the ball, Jasprit Bumrah jags the ball back in while the wrist spinners provide variety that has caught the hosts by surprise so far in this series.

On Tuesday too, the Proteas struggled to take wickets after getting rid of Shikhar Dhawan early. Soon they had to press in their spinners, off-spinner Duminy and left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who brought in some sanity.

There has been criticism that the Proteas haven’t been able to hold on to some of their better bowlers who have moved to England under Kolpak. Fast bowlers Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange, tipped to have a bright future, moved abroad looking for better monetary rewards. Then, there is the quota system, which may have robbed some of them of a chance to represent the country.

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In fact, Steyn’s absence has allowed Morkel to open the bowling and play the entire Test and ODI series. He would have otherwise bowled first change or maybe not even played. There are rumours that he too is looking to move to England due to uncertainty.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 19:30 IST