Image courtesy of: icc-cricket.com
“I would love to see the graph going on an upward curve in this Test”
After losing the first Test to Pakistan by seven wickets, South Africa captain Graeme Smith has called on his team to “maintain” a certain “standard” throughout the second Test in Dubai, which gets underway tomorrow.
South Africa have not lost a Test series since being defeated by Sri Lanka in 2006 and Smith is hoping to keep that record intact.
However, the Proteas will already be at a disadvantage heading into the second Test as batsman Hashim Amla has been ruled out since he is still awaiting the birth of his second child in South Africa, while pace spearhead Dale Steyn will undergo a fitness test after complaining of tightness in his right hamstring during a training session on Sunday.
“I think if we are going to maintain a standard over the next period of time we need to be able to meet those obstacles and hopefully the replaced players provide the performances that is needed to win the Test,” Smith said. “I would love to see the graph going on an upward curve in this Test, from the batting perspective we need to be posting more solid totals and that is something we have prided ourselves on over a period of time.”
Smith also noted that he was confident South Africa would be able win the second Test.
“I think there is still confidence in our ability, we know we are a team that has won all around the world and we know we have the ability to win, it’s just about getting ourselves mentally and skillwise to that point,” Smith said. “It was long time ago (loss to Pakistan), I mean we have had a fair amount of success against Pakistan and I remember the last time winning a series (in Pakistan in 2007) it was a big turning point in our path as a Test team, we went from strength to strength.
“I think every time you lose you learn lessons, lessons about playing in the conditions and that helped us with the success that we have had away from home.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq warned his team not to take South Africa lightly, even if they happen to be without two of their key players
“We don’t want to think about that, we are ready,” ul-Haq said, “We are just assuming that both are playing, so we are getting ready for that. Even if they are not playing they are still the top side in the world so we have to play well against them.”
Ul-Haq also noted that Pakistan desperately needed this win, especially after they lost a Test match against Zimbabwe just last month.
“I think every match is very important for the team, not only the series but every game is important, the more you win matches the more it will lift the morale of the team and you prove yourself in the world of cricket,” ul-Haq said.