Smith targets series win over Sri Lanka

December 14, 2011
Graeme Smith

by Tony Patterson

South Africa start their three Test match series tomorrow against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park in Centurion, and despite a shortage of Test cricket in recent times Graeme Smith believes his side are ready for the challenge.

South Africa have only played three Test matches in 2011, and were left hugely disappointed after drawing a two match Test series with Australia last month, after letting a 1-0 series lead slip. Going into the final few moments of the second Test match in Johannesburg, Smith and his team were still favourites to win, but were unable to claim the last two Australian wickets as Australia chased down 310 in their second innings to claim victory.

Talking at a press conference today Smith said “Instead of stringing two out of three good sessions together, we should be able to manage three out of three. That’s one reason why we probably haven’t gone on to beat teams recently.”

South Africa will be making sure that home advantage counts in this series by providing conditions that should suit the home team. The wicket at Supersport Park has plenty of grass covering, and will play nothing like the slow and low surfaces that Sri Lanka are used to in the sub-continent. We have seen a number of teams adopt this policy in recent times with sides that travel from Asia. Dale Steyn has stated in the press that Sri Lanka can expect a fair amount of short pitched bowling from him and his team.

South Africa have a nice balance to their attack, with the experience and pace of Steyn and Morne Morkel, and also new boys Vernon Philander who impressed against Australian, and a leg spinning option in Imran Tahir. As always Sri Lanka will be relying heavily on former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to score the bulk of their runs.

It was always thought that Sri Lanka would struggle in Test cricket when Muttiah Muralitharan retired, and this has proven to be the case. They have recently lost series to England, Australia, and Pakistan where they have struggled to take 20 wickets. Anything other than defeat in this series to South Africa will come as a huge surprise to the watching world.

Chris Murtagh 14/12/2011

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