Need to Put Durban Record Right: Smith

Need to Put Durban Record Right: Smith

South Africa skipper Graeme Smith today said that his team will step on the field for the Boxing Day Test against India with an aim to set right its poor record here.

The Proteas missed a chance to go 1-0 up in the series, as they could manage only a draw in the first Test at Johannesburg, closing shutters when they needed only eight runs to win, chasing a mammoth 458.

"From an emotional perspective, it's been an interesting few days. As a team, perspective is always important and putting things into context, understanding what needs to be done. I feel we're mentally ready. Hopefully, it will be really good, high intensity and we'll be ready for Boxing Day," said Smith.

"Kingsmead has always been a tougher place to bat. It is a tougher pitch to control. We don't have the best record in Durban over the last few seasons and we are looking forward to the opportunity to put that right now," he added.

South Africa last won a Test at Durban way back in 2008, beating West Indies. Since then, they have lost here to Australia, England, India and Sri Lanka.

It is the first thing in a list which must be bothering Smith, besides the Kingsmead pitch.

"One of the reasons for our poor record is the pitch. It's a surface that can change every day. Statistics say that day two is more difficult to bat on than day one, pretty similar to Wanderers. But overhead conditions and weather can play a big role here.

"It can get hot, it can get flat and then there are times it can do a bit. It's just about reading those moments of the game well and making sure you can be effective," he explained.

"The next bit on the Proteas' plate will be deciding on their eleven. First they have to take a call on Morne Morkel, who twisted his ankle in the first Test and is on the road to recovery. Then they have to decide the role of Imran Tahir and whether they want a spinner in the final XI at all."

"We have been really fortunate that we haven't had too many, touch wood, serious injuries to our frontline three seamers especially. A decision will be made about Morne this evening, so there's still hope that he will come through. The medical staff will make the decision on that."

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