SA need to lift their game, says Kallis

2011-10-21 14:18

After their dismal showing in the first one-day international (ODI), Jacques Kallis says the Proteas are determined to improve their performance and level the three-match series against Australia.

Kallis said today the South Africans, who were thumped by 93 runs in the first ODI in Centurion earlier in the week, had been training hard ahead of the second encounter in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

“We just need to uplift our performance,” Kallis said. “We had a good training day today and perhaps we’ll ease off a little bit tomorrow as we usually do the day before a game. But we need to improve in all departments and it’s a matter of trying to cover all your bases and being as well prepared as you can, which we are.”

Kallis, the top-ranked all-rounder in the world, said forming substantial partnerships was key to winning any game and they were unable to do that in their last outing.

“Hopefully we can get out there and put together some big partnerships up front like Australia did on Wednesday, and put them under pressure this time,” he said.

“That’s the key to one-day cricket – getting partnerships throughout and still having wickets at the death.”

The South Africans were still dusting off the cobwebs after a six-month break, and Kallis admitted they were a little rusty, but he said they were also facing worthy opposition.

“We’re playing one of the best sides in the world and to come off no cricket, as some of the guys have done, it’s tough,” he said.

“It’s the first time we’ve been together as a group, but it’s still no excuse. We were a little bit rusty and we can improve both with bat and ball. We perhaps let ourselves down a little bit.”

After a four-and-a-half hour rain delay midway through Australia’s innings on Wednesday, the South Africans faced a target of 223 off 29 overs, which was always going to be a tough ask, especially in the moist conditions.

“I think we were under pressure chasing seven-and-a-half runs an over on that wicket, in those conditions, and it was never going to be easy,” Kallis said.

“Unfortunately, when you need to go at 7.5 and the ball is moving around like it was, you are at high risk of losing wickets at close intervals like we did.”

Kallis believed the wicket would play well on Sunday and expected it to remain relatively consistent throughout the match.

“It won’t have the pace Centurion had the other night and the scores might be a bit lower, but it’ll still be a good batting wicket,” he said.

“It’s a fairly small ground and so it will still be a fairly high scoring game. Hopefully we can be on the right end in a couple of days’ time and get the series level at one-all which will make for a fantastic showdown [in the final ODI] in Durban.” 

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