We dealt the first punch: Morkel

Centurion: South African pacer Morne Morkel believes his and Dale Steyn`s exploit with the new bowl on the first day of the opening Test would have repercussion on the rest of the three-match series and also send a good message to the Indian camp.

"We caused a huge damage for the rest of the series. We dealt the first blow, the first punch after winning the toss. It sends a good message that we are here and we are not going to stand there as a bowling unit," said Morkel, who returned with a four-wicket haul on the first day of the opening Test.

Morkel along with Steyn, who scalped three crucial wickets, ripped apart the famed Indian batting line-up to leave the visitors at 136 for nine at stumps and tall pacer said the duo was under pressure to take wickets.

"We have been bowling together for some time and so there was a bit of pressure on us to deliver. The main thing was not to get caught in there and get carried away as the game can change very quickly," he said.

His partner Dale said the soft dismissals of Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag and senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar set up South Africa`s dominating day.

"When Sehwag hit the ball I thought it must have gone for a four but it landed at third man (Hashim Amla). We know Sehwag can be dangerous any day so it was satisfying to dismiss him early. A couple of wickets upfront set up the tempo for us today," Steyn, who took three for 34 said.

Steyn said he was happy to have got Sachin Tendulkar`s wicket as it worked to his plan.

"I could say I deliberately made him wait for the ball to play. It was a good delivery and I am happy to have got his wicket. His was a big wicket. The wicket for Laxman was also a very good ball," he said.

Asked how he and his pace colleagues enjoyed bowling at seaming and bouncy conditions, Steyn said, "People talk about the pace and bounce of the pitch here. But finally it boils down to the execution of plans."

"Even if the wicket is fast-bowling friendly, wickets would not come if you don`t put the balls at right areas," he added.

Morkel said Sehwag was the danger-man and getting him out cheaply set the tone for South Africa.

“Getting Sehwag’s wicket so early was great for us. He was the danger man for us and to knock him out so early was perfect start for us,” he said.

The 26-year-old lanky pacer said they had plans in place for the famed Indian batting line-up and he was happy they could execute them well.

“As bowlers pressure was on us. We had won the toss and put them in. Wicket was good to bowl on and we had to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“We had plans in place but executing those plans was even more important. On these type of wickets bowler has to keep remind himself not to get carried away by pace or bounce wicket is offering. I am happy for the fact that we could bowl in right areas,” he said.

Morkel said his bowling style was different from Steyn and both of them have different strength.

“My bowling style and Steyn’s bowling style is totally different. I am 6 feet 5 inch tall and he is bit shorter than me. He can swing the ball long way and with my height I can hit the deck hard. I have my own style and he has his own. We have to stick to our plus points,” he said.

Morkel said the Proteas have a definite edge in the first Test now and said they need to bat well to win the match from here on.

“I think that on the second day we have to bowl them out as early as possible and then bat well for first one hour. I believe that this wicket is still fresh and will offer some assistance in the first hour or so.

“But honestly speaking I think that we have foot on the match. If we bat well in the first inning then it is going to swing in our way,” he said.


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