SA favours harris spin

South Africa are unlikely to make any changes to the team for the second Castle Lager Test at Durban's Kingsmead starting tomorrow.

This will be despite their 162-run loss to Australia in the first Test at the Wanderers.

When South Africa last played a Test match at Kingsmead, against the West Indies last year, spinner Paul Harris sat out the match in favour of local hero Shaun Pollock, who announced his retirement from international cricket at the end of the match.

But coach Micky Arthur dismissed suggestions all-rounder Albie Morkel, who has been called up to the national squad for the last two Tests, would play instead of Harris.

"We have played a spinner in just about every Test for the past 18 months, and all things being equal, we will play a spinner in this Test," he said.

"But I'm not ruling out any option at the moment. Our spinner has been an integral part of our attack in the success we've had over the past 18 months, and he adds a lot.

"But overhead conditions on the morning of the game, the amount of grass that gets taken off the wicket will play quite an important role, but I'm pretty sure we'll play the spinner."

Arthur believes South Africa could bounce back and win the second and third Tests and take the series 2-1.

"We were pretty honest with ourselves after the match," he said. "We didn't perform to the standards we have set ourselves and that was disappointing. But we've had a good long hard chat.

"The team is in a fantastic space. They are really, really determined to bounce back. We've two games to go, and we are confident that we can still win the series."

Arthur acknowledged that Morne Morkel's performance in the first Test was disappointing, both with the bat and with the ball.

"We've chatted about that, so I'm not talking behind his back," he said. "To get out the same way in both innings was very disappointing. We see a lot of potential in Morne as a batter, though.

"And then, with the ball, he's so exciting. We're going to see some really good spells and we're going to see some ordinary spells.

"We back Morne hugely," he added. "I back him to come right, especially in Durban, with a little bit of extra bounce." - Sapa