Morne Morkel celebrates after taking a wicket for the Proteas. Photo:: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

CAPE TOWN - Proteas fast bowler Morne Morkel believes the upcoming Test series against India will be one of the most “evenly contested” series yet on South African soil.

World No 1 India are due to arrive in the country shortly for a three-match Test series against the Proteas, starting on January 5 at Newlands.

Although the tourists’ record in South Africa is not particularly good in the longest format of the game, with India winning just two out of 17 Tests played since 1991, Virat Kohli’s team is ready to re-write history by aiming to win their first series here.

They have armed themselves with a fast-bowling battery, which includes the uncapped Jaspit Bumrah, while they are also leaving no stone unturned by a bringing a group of young fast bowlers along purely as “net bowlers”.

Morkel believes it will be a contest to savour.

“It is no doubt going to be fantastic series against India. They have been saying a few things in the media about wanting to prove they can play away from home, so it is definitely shaping up to be a good, evenly contested series,” the lanky paceman told IOL Sport.

“They have batters that score on hard, bouncy pitches and have a good seam attack that has pace and swing. It is all about who plays the conditions best on the day.” 

The Proteas will certainly bring their own fire with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morkel all returning recently from injury to partner the impressive Kagiso Rabada.

It will be interesting to see how the selectors fit the quartet into an attack that also features left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, but Morkel’s statistics against India certainly pushes him to the fore.

The 79-cap veteran has claimed 24 Indian wickets on home soil at an average of 24.75, which is comfortably higher than his overall career average of 28.85. Morkel was particularly good in the 2010-11 series when he claimed 15 wickets in the three-match series.

Morne Morkel will be playing in the JP21 Super Eights Challenge at Val de Vie Estate on Sunday 17 December.

IOL Sport

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