Proteas eye another series win over Windies
Basseterre: South Africa look set to continue their dominance over West Indies in Tests, and formalise another Test series victory, when the second Test opens tomorrow at Warner Park.
The South Africans lead the three-match series 1-0, after they completed a 163-run victory inside four days in the opening Test last Sunday at Queen`s Park Oval in Trinidad.
The Proteas have not lost a Test series against the Windies, since a 52-run defeat in Barbados 18 years ago marked their return to Tests, following isolation from international cricket.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith wants to keep this proud record in place, and land a victory that would also help to keep his team in the No.1 position in Tests.
"I am sure the West Indies are very frustrated," said Smith after the first Test. "We knew that our ability to maintain pressure on them was going to be tested, and we were able to do what we wanted to do, and that was to keep our foot on their heads."
For West Indies, expectations are much lower but it is hard to see from where the inspiration will come, and their captain Chris Gayle is well aware of the challenge that confronts them.
"We are looking forward to the Test, where we know we have to look for a victory and stay in the series," said Gayle.
"As I said before the start of the series, it won`t be easy for us. The South Africans are an experienced team, and they are playing well at the moment. But we have to believe in ourselves and play good, hard cricket."
South Africa are not likely to tinker with their line-up, although a few of the bowlers, particularly Dale Steyn, looked a little sore towards the end of the Test in Port of Spain.
But the extra day of rest may be just the tonic they needed to recover.
"Freshness is the key for us now, particularly from a bowling perspective," said Smith.
"Before the first Test, we spoke about the fact that we were going to be tested, not having played Test cricket for quite a while.
"In a three-Test series the next match is just as crucial. We can`t afford to take our foot off the gas at all."