TELFORD VICE at Seddon Park
MORNE Morkel became the sixth South African to claim 250 test wickets during the third test against New Zealand here on Monday.
What will he remember about the milestone moment that arrived when Quinton de Kock launched leftward to catch, just above the turf, the edge Tom Latham offered?
“That it was a very hard day out on the field,” Morkel said.
And how. South Africa toiled for 78.3 overs for the four wickets they took on a day that ended with the home side seven runs ahead, with six wickets standing, and with Kane Williamson entrenched on 148 not out.
“There’s only one team under pressure now and that’s us,” Morkel said. “We need to come with the right attitude.
“We know they’re going to come really hard at us in the second innings to get the win.
“We always speak about it in the dressingroom, how we want to be mentally strong.
“A great way for us to finish our calendar would be if we can hang on.”
The match is both teams’ last in a season that began nine months ago.
South Africa lead the series, but victory for New Zealand would level matters.
Williamson, whose 17th test ton saw him join Martin Crowe as New Zealand’s leading century-maker, is key to the outcome of the match.
“It’s important for us to knock him over early,” Morkel said.
“We’ll attack in the morning and then assess from there.”
The stand of 190 that Williamson shared with Jeet Raval is a New Zealand record for the second wicket in tests against South Africa.
Raval scored a career-best 88, but said he had batted in Williamson’s shadow.
“I felt like a clown with the master batting at the other end,” Raval said.
“Every run I scored was bloody hard work.”
The South Africans also found the going tough, especially after the umpires changed the ball an hour after lunch.
“All I heard was that the ball had lost shape,” was how Morkel described the reason for the replacement.
“It was at a crucial stage because we had just got the ball to reverse.
“From a mental point of view it cost us about 15 overs to get back into the game.”
Morkel suggested regulations on the issue should be reviewed.
“When they change the ball they pick a ball for you,” he said.
“I’m not making any excuses, but that doesn’t add up.
“Maybe that’s something they can look at – give the fielding team three balls to pick from.”