Proteas will exploit Australia’s batting weakness, says Graeme Smith

2014-02-03 17:35

Proteas test captain Graeme Smith has offered a diplomatic response to Australian counterpart Michael Clarke’s claim that the Australian bowling attack is the best in the world, saying it’s a motivator to do well.

He also hinted at Australia’s batting weakness which is something Clarke has not spoken about.

“We’ve played against Australia long enough to be able to sift through the bull**** and one of our great abilities has been to be humble and focus on ourselves. Internal strength is important and we don’t feel the need to get caught up in those things. We know that this series will be decided by the cricket that will be played over the 15 days,” Smith said.

“My goal as a captain is purely for us to be as effective as possible as a team, to find any weakness in Australia’s line-up and be able to exploit it. We have the players to do that and that’s our focus behind the scenes. We are really motivated to expose certain things but we know it is not going to be easy.”

The upcoming three-test series against Australia, which begins on February 12 at SuperSport Park in Centurion, will be South Africa’s first since the retirement of their great all-rounder, Jacques Kallis. Smith was non-committal on who the exact replacement would be but added that the three-day warm-up game against South Africa “A” would go a long way in confirming a replacement.

“We need to make a decision based on who is going to be the most effective going into the game, considering conditions and where we will be playing. Having AB de Villiers keep, gives us the latitude to make those decisions but we don’t want to put pressure on one’s shoulders. It will be an opportunity for certain players to put their hands up whether it’s a batsman, bowler or all-rounder,” Smith said.

In Potchefstroom, Clarke said this series could be decided by the team that bats the best. Feeble batsmanship was one of England’s key reasons for the Ashes downfall which gave credence to Clarke’s claim especially given the nature of South African pitches. Smith said he was well aware of the pitfalls the batsmen would face but it was a challenge his unit was up for.

“I’ve opened the batting in South Africa long enough to know that it is going to be testing and it is always like that here. The moving ball is something we are accustomed to but there will be unique challenges, especially for the Australian batsmen. Our bowling attack knows how to exploit conditions here and they have done it effectively over a long period of time,” Smith said.

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