South African paceman Morne Morkel has forecast a short ball barrage at Australian captain Michael Clarke in a bid to halt his run-scoring spree.
Morkel says the Proteas need to be wiser in their approach to Clarke in the second Test in Adelaide starting Thursday.
Clarke’s rich form continued in the drawn series opener in Brisbane with a superb unbeaten 259 in Australia’s sole innings.
But Morkel says astute use of the short ball, and denying Clarke scoring singles, will feature in South Africa’s planning for Australia’s in-form leader.
“Any batsmen struggles a bit at first with the short ball so we will probably come up with game plans and start working on those sort of things,” Morkel told reporters on Monday.
“Definitely that is a plan to always use a short ball – you have got two short balls an over so why not use it.
“We just need to use it in a clever way and see how we go from there.”
Clarke’s Brisbane epic was his third Test score higher than 200 this year, a feat only previously accomplished in Test cricket by Sir Donald Bradman in 1930 and Ricky Ponting in 2003.
“He played very, very well,” Morkel said.
“If we can create more pressure and try and stop him from rotating strike … that will be key.”
Morkel said the South Africans were also urgently addressing their costly spate of no balls in the Brisbane Test, where Proteas bowlers over-stepped 23 times.
Morkel was denied Ed Cowan’s wicket because of a no ball while Australian quicks Peter Siddle and James Pattinson also lost wickets due to no balls.
“It’s a controllable,” Morkel said.
“It is something I personally have been working hard on … the stats show we have been bowling quite a lot (of no balls) over the past few Test matches and Test series so it’s definitely a thing that we are targeting at the moment.”
The South Africans managed just five Australian wickets at the Gabba and Morkel said their highly-rated pace bowling brigade needed to improve.
“We know what to do to lift our game,” he said.
“They (Australia’s batsmen) are all quality players, the way they play in these conditions here, the way they leave the ball, does make it tough.
“We have played against quality opposition and this is just another challenge for us.
“There is a lot of talk about our bowling attack being number one and hopefully we can produce that.”