GIF: Morne Morkel's Over of Bouncers to Michael Clarke Was Thrilling, Terrifying

Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterMarch 1, 2014

Australia's Michael Clarke reacts after being hit by a ball bowled by South Africa's Morne Morkel, right, during day five of the first cricket test between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba stadium in Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Tertius Pickard/Associated Press

The opening day of the third and final Test between South Africa and Australia saw a thrilling passage of play as Proteas quick Morne Morkel sent down a barrage of bouncers to Australia skipper Michael Clarke.

Morkel, bowling around the wicket, was targeting Clarke's perceived weakness to the short ball—and also his ribs—and Clarke was struck time and again trying to fend it off.

Remarkably, he survived the over, but the physio came out to treat him after one particularly vicious ball to the head, and the bruises will last some time.  

GIF

As this summary of the over shows, every ball was hostile, on target and the speed guns measured the deliveries at close to 150kph (93mph). The Cape Town crowd roared Morkel on in every delivery, the pressure built by the ball.

As terrifying as it must have been for Clarke to face, it made for exhilarating viewing, reminiscent of the old challenges of Test cricket, when the West Indies were the masters of fast bowling, but major nations all had some frightening quicks to unleash on bouncy pitches.

More recently, Mitchell Johnson has been doing something similar for Clarke's own Australia. 

And the reaction on Twitter suggested people want much, much more of the same.

Wow, gripping stuff, this - Morkel hunting down Clarke...

— Lawrence Booth (@the_topspin) March 1, 2014

Morne Morkel giving Clarke a working over here - a series of brutal short balls #SAvAUS

— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 1, 2014

Morkel v Clarke. #SAvAUS That's why they call it TEST #Cricket & why it rules as best form of the game.

— Craig Hamilton (@agnuspagnus) March 1, 2014

I don't know if Clarke will get through this Morkel barrage, but he will really appreciate it's value if he does. Those are Tough test runs.

— ian bishop (@irbishi) March 1, 2014

This is proper cricket. #SAvAUS

— Charlie Reynolds (@thesportsfox) March 1, 2014