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Sports

March 8, 2017

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South Africa confirm gamble on Morkel

South Africa confirm gamble on Morkel

DUNEDIN, New Zealand: South Africa will gamble on the fitness of speedster Morne Morkel when the first Test against New Zealand begins in Dunedin on Wednesday (today).

With cool, blustery conditions expected and a green hue to the wicket, New Zealand would not confirm their likely line-up on Tuesday, leaving open the option of playing a second spin bowler.

But South African captain Faf du Plessis felt that one spinner and Morkel slotting in as the third seamer behind Vern Philander and Kagiso Rabada would give his side the best balance.

The 1.96 metre (6ft 5in) Morkel, with 242 Test wickets, has been out of international action since early last year with a back injury which he aggravated again during a tour match in Australia last November.

Du Plessis said the risk of putting the tall paceman back into action against New Zealand was worth it. “If he’s not going to be able to play now then we’ll never know if we don’t take that chance,” du Plessis said Tuesday.

“Every time he’s bowled in the nets it felt to me like he was bowling at his best.

“So it’s an opportunity we have to take as a team and see where Morne is with his back. All the reports say it’s 100 percent fine.”

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