Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa are coming off a morale-diminishing ODI series loss to India, and Australia captain Steve Smith is aiming to take full advantage of it.
While South Africa beat India 2-1 in the Test series, the tourists have mounted an incredible comeback since securing a consolation win in the third Test in Johannesburg.
Granted the Proteas lost key members during the ODI series, including AB de Villiers, captain Faf du Plessis and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, but it still resulted in India recording a 5-1 series win, which marked their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in the country.
Once the Twenty20 series against India concludes, it will be a quick turnaround for South Africa as they will take on the Baggy Greens in a four-Test series.
Australia come into the series brimming with confidence as they annihilated England 4-0 in the Ashes, where captain Steve Smith led by example with the bat, while the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummin, and specialist spinner Nathan Lyon, all had an impact with the ball.
“I’ve been watching bits and pieces of it,” Smith was quoted as saying by sacricketmag.com. “Been watching bits of the one-dayers the last couple of days as well. They probably haven’t been at their best, the South Africans, and the Indians have played really well.
“For us, they might be a little low leading into the Test series and it’s important to try to keep their confidence down and start really well in the first Test match in Durban.”
Furthermore, Smith is taking comfort in the fact that Australia haven’t lost a Test series in South Africa since the Proteas’ readmission to Test cricket in 1991.
“It means a lot,” Smith said about Australia’s record in South Africa. “Coming to South Africa, it’s probably the most similar conditions you get to Australia or probably any conditions in the world for two countries. This is going to be a good challenge for this group to hopefully keep that record up.
“We got beaten by South Africa at home a year ago, and that was a bit of a low point for Australian cricket. So it would be great if we could turn the tides here.”
The first Test between South Africa and Australia begins on March 1 in Durban.