Pace duo give veteran Boucher plenty to smile about

2010-01-18 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s attack has a new look about it, and it is one that has keeper Mark Boucher positively purring.

The pace, bounce and promise of Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel is not lost on the man who has the best view, and the veteran stump-minder said he much prefers catching balls from the pace duo as opposed to facing them.

“I’ve kept to some great duos like Polly and AD [Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald], but these guys can really go on to become two of the best to have ever bowled in this game.”

High praise indeed, but anyone who saw the Titans’ terrible twins inflicting pain and pressure in equal doses would not readily argue with Boucher, who shared the man of the series award with England off-spinner Graeme Swann.

Morkel’s revival is exactly the reaction the Proteas would have hoped for when they dropped him against Australia last season.

“I realised that I was probably trying to do too much in the past,” the beanpole said yesterday.

“I have just gone back to keeping things simple, by just hitting the deck hard and enjoying my game.”

And how England have suffered.

Steyn, comfortable with his standing as the world’s best bowler, went as far as saying that he had bowled behind the real spearhead, as Morkel was the real leader during this series.

“The highlight of the series for me has been watching Morné bowl,” Steyn said.

As eloquent as he is entertaining, Steyn has assumed the “senior pro” role in Makhaya Ntini’s absence, and the upshot of that is that Graeme Smith now has two express bowlers to turn to.

Morkel’s bounce and Steyn’s swing are a potent combination in helpful conditions, and England captain Andrew Strauss said his side was really up against it.

“We said amongst each other that the opening spells from the two of them would probably be up there with anything we will ever face,” he revealed.

Boucher, who was SA’s man of the series after an excellent run with the bat, fully contributed to yesterday’s win himself.

His fluent 95 on Saturday went a long way towards establishing an imposing lead, and the warrior from the, er, Warriors said he was pleased to have come to the party.

“I worked really hard in the off-season, and Duncan Fletcher was also very helpful with ironing out a few technical aspects.”

Boucher also said that his appetite for the game has not diminished.

“I think it was Steve Waugh who said that he was still learning from the game, even after 150 Tests.

“So I am always looking to improve, and I have been quite chuffed with my batting form this series.”


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