Durban: An upbeat South African captain Graeme Smith has already started playing mindgames before they take on India in the second Test which starts here on Boxing Day.
“I still believe that we could have handled that situation better. I would like to insist that wicket was helping bowlers when we batted for first 40-odd overs,” the South African captain stated in reference to India’s 136 all-out in the first innings.
“Then wicket flattened out on 2nd day after tea and then on to 3rd day. But certainly we would done better on that wicket,” Smith on Thursday took a dig at the much vaunted Indian batting line-up when asked how his team would have approached if put into bat.
“I think that the scoring rate we achieved done the trick for us as we were left with lot more time to get India out twice,” the Proteas skipper added.
The skipper insisted that by inflicting a humiliating defeat on the opposition, his team will be riding high before they take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men for the second time in the series.
“Look we have won last Test match by innings and 25 runs. So we have lot of positives to take from that match. We are certainly going to take that confidence with us in the second Test match. On the other side doubts will certainly creep into the Indian team. But we aren’t thinking too far ahead. We are focussing on the process and preparing well for this match,” he said.
The southpaw however expects a better fightback from Dhoni’s men in the coming Test match.
“I expect much more fight back from the India team. They have loads of experience. They will come out fighting in this Test match especially in the batting department. Don’t forget this if fight between top two teams in Test cricket.”
Smith is confident that his bowlers can sort out Virender Sehwag who showed glimpses of his devastating ability with the willow during the second innings.
“That’s the way Sehwag plays. He backs his ability and if he gets going then he takes the game away from the opposition. But like in the first innings at Centurion, if we can knock Sehwag out early on, then things change for us.”
“If we can make early inroads, then we can test lower order on relatively new ball. That is going to be a huge challenge for us to restrict Sehwag from giving flying start for his team.”
Smith is however aware that South Africa’s record at Kingsmead of late has been poor as they have the last two Test matches played here.
“Yes, we have lost last two Test matches played here at Kingsmead. Honestly speaking, we were not good enough in all five days while playing against England. We have spoken about it and will handle the situation better this time around,” he answered.
About the Kingsmead strip, Smith said, “We expect same type of bounce and carry on the Kingsmead wicket. We all know that conditions have been wet over here but now the sun is beating down. So you can expect a good wicket which will also offer some turn.”
About Hashim Amla who will be playing his 50th Test match, Smith said, “It’s going to be big Test match for Hashim. He is a very composed and disciplined guy. He has become a solid performer for us in all forms of cricket. It is nice to see how he has grown in stature in international cricket.”