South Africa have arrived in Perth high on confidence, with Graeme Smith saying this tour was the side’s best shot at a series title in Australia since their readmission in 1991. South Africa are yet to win a Test series in Australia, but Smith, the first South African to lead his country on two tours of Australia, was hopeful of a turnaround.
“The reality is, it’s probably our best chance of winning out of all five tours, and everyone knows that,” he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun before leaving South Africa. “Dale Steyn, on current form, is the leading strike bowler in the world, Makhaya [Ntini] is one of the most experienced and Morne Morkel one of the most promising.
“We have a settled opening pair, the middle order has been functioning superbly for over a year, Jacques Kallis is probably the best allrounder in the world and Mark Boucher is the most experienced and, statistically, the best wicketkeeper the game has seen.”
Smith, 27, felt the left-arm spinner Paul Harris was also a key component of the team. “As a captain I’m delighted with Paul Harris,” he said. “He has a very clearly defined role in the team, from first innings to second, and he gives me control. I enjoy the fact that he is underestimated by many opponents.”
Harris, 30, has yet to play Australia. “We have seen some of the finest batsmen from India and Pakistan, and Kevin Pietersen in England, taking him lightly and paying the price,” said Smith.
There has been speculation as to whether Australia will go with an all-pace attack for the series opener and the injury sustained by the offspinner Jason Krejza, who failed a fitness test for Tasmania yesterday, gives Ricky Ponting a potential headache.
South African coach Mickey Arthur talked up Australia’s pace attack against the visiting side’s. “In the past you could predict conditions, the most obvious being that it would turn square in Sydney and Shane Warne would most likely take 10,” he said. “But things are different now and it’s hard to see which way they will go in order to maximise home advantage. If they can produce an old-fashioned Perth wicket with pace and bounce, will they back [Brett] Lee, [Mitchell] Johnson and [Stuart] Clark against our pace attack?”
South Africa arrive in Australia unbeaten in their last nine Test series - winning eight of those - and are currently ranked No. 2 in the ICC rankings. Their last series loss was in Sri Lanka in 2006, with their only draw since then coming away against India earlier this year.
South Africa will play a one-day game on December 11 and a two-day match against Western Australia starting Friday. The first Test starts in Perth on December 17.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, Brett Lee, Dale Steyn, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel, Pakistan, Paul Harris, shane warne, South Africa, Sri Lanka
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, December 7th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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