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Morne Morkel relishes 300-wicket landmark

Morne Morkel (left) celebrating the wicket of Steven Smith
Morne Morkel (left) celebrating the wicket of Steven Smith

South Africa speedster Morne Morkel has credited hard work for his success after he went past 300 wickets in the ongoing third Test against Australia at Newlands.

Morkel, who now has 301 to his tally picked the key wickets of Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh along with Nathan Lyon and was pivotal in Proteas restricting Australia to 245 for nine at stumps on day two.

“I have worked really hard through the years, I wasn’t blessed with that natural talent to run up and hit a length, so over 12 years it was hard work to get to be able to do that,” said Morkel, who has announced that he will retire from international cricket at the end of the series.

“It’s a special feeling, mostly because I am the world record holder for the most no balls! But to eventually reach it (300 wickets) is something I have worked for a long time to achieve and to do it at this amazing venue is even better.”

There was a chance that Morkel, who was dropped for the second game could have ended his career stranded at 297 wickets but an injury to Lungi Ngidi prompted the team management to give the 33-year-old another chance and he has responded really well.

“In PE (Port Elizabeth) I sat down for hours looking at my Durban spells and what I had to work on. Luckily for me I got an opportunity with Lungi getting a niggle.”

At the end of the second day, Australia still trail South Africa's first innings total by 66 runs with one wicket in hand and Morkel feels any lead will be handy as the pitch might slow down as the game progresses making it tough to bat.

“I don’t think it will get quicker, it will either stay the same or get slower. Hopefully tomorrow we can get that last wicket and a lead of 60. It will be harder to bat in the last couple of days.”

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