Graeme Smith and that new year’s winning streak...

South African teams of varying strengths, which captain Graeme Smith has been part of since his debut at this ground in 2002, have come, seen and conquered all comers at the start of almost every year.

Having marched around the world beating opponents black and blue and without the spectre of a Boxing Day test defeat to wash off, Smith said his team could not have asked for a better year.

“We would love to build on the momentum we created in 2012 and it is a good way to start our summer at home,” he said.

“If you play games like this and you are dominant, it takes the game forward. There is a good degree of confidence in the team that allows us to play that way. As a team we have come off some good wins and it is a lot easier to play that way.”

Collapses and fightbacks are part and parcel of this funny sport and drawing from their experiences on tour when they had their backs to the wall, Smith mused that a recovery from New Zealand was always going to be on the cards.

The respect was there for the Black Caps, even though they are separated by seven places and a multitude of points between them, he respected the fact they did not throw in the towel but also their ability to go for the kill.

“We’ve fought back from a tough position and we have worked our backsides off to win games and when we have had that opportunity, we’ve driven a bus through the door. There is that resilience within the squad that is terrific,” Smith added.

“We expected New Zealand to show commitment to the cause and they showed good discipline. They were fairly defensive in their mindset and I thought we bowled pretty well on day one. The wicket on day one produced a lot more than it did last night so we needed to be more disciplined. I thought though that Dean Brownlie’s 100 was an excellent one.”

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