Morkel: Beating the heat is all mental

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South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel says playing in Sri Lanka is incredibly tough because of the hot and humid conditions, but it's a case of keeping the mind fit when the body wants to give up.

South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel says playing in Sri Lanka is incredibly tough because of the hot and humid conditions, but it's a case of keeping the mind fit when the body wants to give up.

The Proteas won the first Test in Galle by 153 runs, with Morkel and Dale Steyn dominating with the ball despite the wicket not offering much to the bowlers. Morkel says they were exhausted, but determined to put up a good front.

Morkel said: "It's hot, it's humid and you need to prepare yourself for that. I've always tried to focus on getting it right mentally. If you're not mentally strong, you're going to struggle.

"In this heat and humidity when the ball is a bit soft, that takes a bit of the battery life out of you.

"The key for us in these conditions (is) for the bowlers to have a strong body language, because that lifts up the field. Also for the Sri Lankan guys if they see that the fast bowlers are fired up and our body language is strong, that sends a strong message.

"We have to get over those things – the wicket is flat, the ball is soft – and we have to come up with a game plan."

Morkel was successful in Galle, on a flat track that he and Steyn managed to extract some life from, and he was particularly pleased to get the wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in tough conditions.

He said of his seven wickets in the game: "I felt I bowled very well bar the one over in the first innings but when the ball was a little bit softer it was quite tough.

"But to come back in the second innings – it's one thing getting the first ten but the second ten is more important – so it's a good thing for me to come back and support Dale and the rest of the bowlers and to have something in the wicket column.

"It's nice when we discuss and plan and those things happen. Mahela is a quality player and we knew him and Kumar were key for Sri Lanka. That was why we wanted to fire with intensity upfront at those two guys and maybe put some heat on them."

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