Righting past wrongs

2011-12-24 00:00

AFTER a string of disappointing results at Kingsmead, which saw the Proteas lose three crucial Tests in three years at the ground, captain Graeme Smith said that the side is prepared to right past wrongs.

“We are aware that we haven’t performed our best at Kingsmead in the past, but we are prepared to end that this year,” said Smith.

In the past, the Proteas have lost to Australia, England and India at the ground.

Although the Proteas are facing a struggling Sri Lanka at the ground on Monday in the second Test, Smith said that each side needs to be treated with respect.

He added that when given an opportunity, the Sri Lankan batting order can punish ill-disciplined bowling, especially Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

There have been calls for the Proteas to be more ruthless when their opponents are down, and they have an opportunity to do so next week. But the Proteas’ preparation ahead of the Test has not been ideal.

“None of the batsmen have had a bat since the win in Pretoria and only Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander have had a bowl,” said Smith. When arriving at the ground for practice yesterday, the side was greeted by grey skies and intermittent rain. Should this persist over the next two days then preparation will again be scarce. But the high performance centre at the ground does have indoor nets.

Smith echoed assistant coach Russell Domingo’s feelings that the Proteas are not looking towards their tour of England just yet.

“England is a long way off, but some of the systems that we are putting in place now will serve us well in England. We need to start performing well in three or four consecutive sessions as opposed to two. We also need to weather the storm of sessions where we have to work hard for wickets or runs. Its all about mental toughness which Gary Kirsten is making us work very hard on,” said Smith.

News from the camp is that all the players are fully fit and that Jacques Kallis, who took a knock in the first Test, has been given the all clear.

The team landed in Durban yesterday and have had limited opportunities to look at the pitch, so Smith was apprehensive to talk about team selection. But he did add that Kirsten does not like to tamper with a winning formula. Should the side beat the tourists they will seal the three match series ahead of the Cape Town Test. This may tempt Kirsten to give Marchant de Lange his debut test.

“It’s far too soon to make a call like that,” said Smith, we are taking it one test at a time and our main focus is winning the series at Kingsmead,” said Smith.

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