Graeme Smith warns India to expect another lively wicket

2013-12-17 17:05

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South Africa captain Graeme Smith is expecting the batsmen to be confronted by another lively Wanderers wicket in the first test against India.

The track in Johannesburg has yielded one total of 400-plus in almost five years.

The home team bowled Pakistan out for 49 here in February while India’s new-look side have little experience of playing under South African conditions.

“Obviously they are hugely talented but it’s a very different lineup to the one I’ve become accustomed to playing against,” Smith told reporters ahead of tomorrow’s test.

“Touring in other parts of the world is a big test of character. Both first innings are probably going to be tough – there’s a bit of moisture in that wicket and some good cracks.

“I expect it to be a normal Wanderers wicket of recent times, hopefully with good pace and bounce.”

Paceman Dale Steyn picked up match figures of 11 for 60 when South Africa tore Pakistan apart earlier this year, and India will also have to cope with the bounce of Morne Morkel and the swing bowling of Vernon Philander.

Smith’s team, who are ranked number one in the world, always try to give the opposition a hard time, but he said there was little chance of tempers flaring in the same way they have done in the ongoing Ashes series between Australia and England.

“The way we have played has been hugely successful for us,” he explained. “We play the game hard but there’s a huge respect factor for the game and our opposition.”

South Africa also skittled England for 180 and 169 at The Wanderers in 2010, with neither innings lasting 50 overs.

That match was the only one since February 2009 that has yielded a score of 400 or more.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni goes into the series without master batsman Sachin Tendulkar who retired last month.

Dhoni believes his side will cope better having already played the one-day series in South Africa.

“In the ODIs we were confident but in a couple of games we played lots of shots and we found the fielders more often than not,” he said of his side’s series defeat.

“But we learnt plenty, what lengths to bowl and as batsmen what to leave. So overall our preparation has been good and it is all about how individuals adapt to different scenarios now.

“The wicket here will certainly assist the fast bowlers initially,’ said Dhoni.

“It will be crucial to bowl well especially with the new ball because early wickets can put pressure on the middle-order.”

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