; Feather in our cap for SA – Smith – The Citizen

Feather in our cap for SA – Smith

FILE PICTURE: South Africa's captain Graeme Smith. Photo by AFP PHOTO/STR/Gallo Images.

FILE PICTURE: South Africa's captain Graeme Smith. Photo by AFP PHOTO/STR/Gallo Images.

Cricket captain Graeme Smith says the Proteas relish the chance to claim a come-from-behind series victory over Australia in the third and final Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

“We’ve lost one series in eight years that’s a pretty successful run and needs to be embraced,” Smith said at Newlands on Friday.

“If we go on to win this Test, it’s another stepping stone in what this team has been able to create.

“We lie with a big opportunity in front of us both teams and it’s all set-up well. It would be a big feather in our cap to come from 1-0 down to win this series.”

After thumping South Africa by 281 runs in the first Test of the current series, the hosts went on to level the series, winning the second Test by 231.

With a top score of 14 in the series so far, Smith’s performance remained a concern for the team.

“I haven’t contributed the way I would’ve liked. Mentally I’m in a good space.

“As an opener, it’s about just getting through that initial period and getting yourself in. I felt I was a little bit unlucky in Centurion, and in Port Elizabeth I let myself down.

“I’ve really focused hard on my preparation this week and I’ve ticked all the boxes.”

The Proteas have an ally in Newlands where they have not lost a Test in 12 years.

The last time the two sides met at the ground was in 2011, where the Australians were bowled out for an abysmal 47 in their second innings.

The Proteas were bundled out for 96 runs in their first innings but coasted to 236/2 in their second to seal an eight-wicket victory.

Smith said the wicket would not be as lively on Saturday.

“There’s been some really hot weather coming into the match. It’s a different time of the year, it was November last time we played here.

“The pitch has settled down a lot since that time.

“It would be great if we could create another memory like 47 all out.”

Australian captain Michael Clarke said his team was determined to fight back and claim a series victory over South Africa.

“We didn’t come here to lose and we have the opportunity to win the series here,” Clarke said.

“Right now our focus is on beating the number-one team in the world in their backyard.”

Overhead conditions could be a major factor in the way the game would play out, he said.

“Generally when it’s overcast there’s enough there for the bowlers.

“I think the wicket looked quite dry, so reverse swing will play a part and we’re playing against a very good attack again.”

Retired Australian spinner Shane Warne had spent some time with the players, and Clarke said the legendary bowler had a positive influence on the side.

“One of his greatest strengths is his knowledge of the game, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get the best out of individuals,” Clarke said.







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8 December 2018 THE VAAL

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