India face pace barrage in warm-up match

Published: Wednesday, December 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Potchefstroom (RSA):India will have the benefit of playing on one of the best batting pitches in South Africa as they warm up for a Test series against the host nation - but they will also have to deal with another battery of fast bowlers.

The Rest of South Africa team which faces the Indians in a four-day match starting Thursday includes Mornantau Hayward, one of the fastest bowlers in the country, and Morne Morkel, a rising star who has been tipped for Test honours soon, as well as Garnett Kruger, who has been on the fringes of the national squad for the past two seasons.

The Indians go into the warm-up match low on confidence after being beaten 4-0 in a one-day series during which they failed to deal competently with the South African fast bowlers.

Hayward, 29, played in 16 Tests up until 2004. He fell out with the country's administrators early in 2003 when it was revealed, while he was playing in a Test against Pakistan, that he had signed a contract with English county Worcestershire which gave the county first call on his services, ahead of his country.

One of South Africa's more volatile cricketers, Hayward has been in good form for the Warriors franchise team this season and the Indians can expect to deal with plenty of fast, short-pitched bowling from him.

Morkel, 22, is the taller and younger brother of Albie Morkel, who played for South Africa in a Twenty20 international in Johannesburg last Friday.

Whereas Albie Morkel has become known for his big-hitting feats, Morne is an out-and-out fast bowler, who has been one of the most impressive performers in franchise cricket since being promoted to the Titans team midway through the domestic one-day competition this season.

Kruger, 29, toured Australia with the South African team last season without playing in a Test match and has been a consistent wicket-taker at domestic level.

Provided they can weather the first bursts of the fast men, it could be ideal preparation for the tourists, who play the first of three Tests against South Africa in Johannesburg from Dec 15 to 19.

The pitch at Potchefstroom consistently yields high scores and will be a chance for the Indian batsmen to play themselves into form.

The Indians have been strengthened by the inclusion of experienced batsmen VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly in their Test squad. They will join Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and the currently injured captain Rahul Dravid to form a potentially solid core of batting for the series.


Rest of South Africa: Jacques Rudolph (capt), Alviro Petersen, Morne van Wyk, Jean Paul Duminy, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Justin Kemp, Vernon Philander, Paul Adams, Morne Morkel, Garnett Kruger and Mornantau Hayward.

Indians: Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman (v-capt), Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Gautam Gambhir, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, VRV Singh, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.


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