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South Africa keeping fingers crossed on Steyn fitness: Morkel

SA cricketers at practice session

 Nagpur : Injured South Africa pacer Dale Steyn bowled for a short while in the nets, raising hopes of him being included in the playing XI in the third Test here against India, but his fast bowling partner Morne Morkel said the team is keeping its fingers crossed.

Morkel said that while it was pleasing to see Steyn bowling today in the nets, his progress would be monitored and a final call on including him will be taken on the opening day morning of the third Test at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha here.

“Dale bowled this morning. It was a pleasing thing for us to see. Obviously groin is a tricky sort of injury. So I think we will keep monitoring and give him 9 am on Wednesday to decide,” Morkel told reporters today.

Morkel said the final call on playing Steyn, who picked up 10 wickets in South Africa’s innings win over India at this venue five years ago, would be taken by the team’s medical staff.

“I think it will be a medical call. You don’t want to select a bowler who could break down and upset the combinations. It’s a bit of a tough one, but I know medical staff will take the right call,” he said.

“Dale is dying to get out there, do his things. Fingers crossed,” he added.

On Steyn’s back-up Marchant de Lange, Morkel said: “He can be quite tricky to face. He’s been busy with one-day competitions at home. Of late he’s not played much of four day cricket, (but) he knows what to do.”

Down 0-1 in the four-Test series, Morkel said South Africa, as a no. 1 ranked Test outfit, must deliver in the upcoming must-win game.

“We are the No.1 Test team in the world. The (dressing room atmosphere) is very positive. The first Test could not go our way, but we are starting fresh on Wednesday. We are hungry to go and deliver the goods. We speak that language in the change room.

“There are a lot of good memories (about this venue where SA won by an innings in 2010), but you have to put those things aside and focus on disciplined cricket. One has to be mentally tough. We are the No. 1 Test playing nation. We need to show that. Whatever conditions, people have to put up their hands and take it on,” he said.

“It’s been tricky. We have had injuries throughout the tour (Steyn and Vernon Philander who has gone back and Jean-Paul Duminy who has recovered from a palm injury). But (there are) no excuses for us. We need to come in and delivery and play. Hopefully, we will have five days of good Test cricket,” Morkel added.

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