Graeme Smith: We need to show SA we’re No 1

2014-02-11 14:29

Graeme Smith has laid down the gauntlet for his team: They need to prove to the South African public ahead of tomorrow’s first test against Australia that they are the No 1 test team.

The fact that South Africa has not done well against Australia at home does not bother him one bit. They have rolled Australia twice away consecutively.

“Having had success in Australia, that was probably a bigger highlight because it was not done regularly over the years. We would like to carry on what we started and create something special. They have come hunting for us, but we are looking to show people why we are the No 1 team,” Smith said.

Michael Clarke and his charges have been kings of the trash-talk, with Smith saying that they have done wonders for newspaper sales in their short stay. Smith would not say who will be playing tomorrow, but said they were prepared for anything Australia had to throw at them.

“We are well prepared and we have trained hard, but it will always come down to the cricket and how you execute your skills. In series like this, it is going to be intense and there will be moments of pressure. Our breaking points as a team have extended over time and we have great ability to handle pressure and perform over time, and that is something I would like to see continue over the next three tests,” Smith said.

A tetchy Clarke refused to speculate on team composition or on decision-making should he win the toss, but he said his team deserved more credit for their performances than they had been given. While they have been nearly invincible at home, their track record away from home has not been the best.

“The Australian players deserve a lot more credit for how they performed over the summer. I don’t think it is someone else’s poverty when you win a series 5-0. It will be a great test for this team, especially against the No 1 team in the world in their own back yard,” Clarke said.

As much as Australia has an impeccable record against the Proteas in South Africa, Clarke was quick to point out that the South African team will not be as easy to topple as those of the past. Clarke acknowledged South Africa’s No 1 test status as one that has been hard-earned, which gives them default favourite status.

“I don’t think a team can become No 1 overnight and South Africa need to be given credit for how they have performed over the years. They have been extremely successful for a long time and they have earned the right to be the No 1 team in the world.”

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