Proteas in Australia
Proteas out to build legacy
Brisbane - The status of Australia and South Africa’s long-standing rivalry will be known in the next four weeks as the Test series gets underway here at the Gabba on Friday.
Past encounters between the two nations have always evoked heated sentiment and hype, with the lead-up to this series being no different.
South Africa need to win or draw the series to retain the ICC Test mace, which they have held since August after defeating England on their home turf. The consistency in selection, an impressive undefeated away record since 2006, and the presence of some of the world’s best gives the squad the essential ingredients to dominate the Test cricket sphere.
“We would love the opportunity to create a legacy,” skipper Graeme Smith
said at his captain’s press conference. “You have to take steps at a time, in international cricket today there have been a number of teams that have touched the No 1 ranking and certainly we would love to have that opportunity and we know that this is the next stepping stone for us and it is a big challenge.
“We are not getting too far ahead of ourselves, we believe we have the capabilities to create that but you have to earn it and take those steps towards the process. The next three to four weeks is that big challenge for us,” he added.
The series win over England was significant in the way that it shed light on an important aspect in the Proteas' mental strength cabinet, with the players making crucial plays during key pressure situations.
“The Test side has proven that,” Smith commented on the squad’s mental strength. “When you play in other people’s backyards and with the crowds, there is a different sort of pressure and you need to be able to handle certain things that come your way.
“In recent memory in England we were able to show that we were able to perform under pressure and we were able to stand up in key times. I guess when good teams play each other there are those small margins and you need to be able to handle those margins better than the other team if you are going to be victorious.”
The expected mind games have not affected the squad after a dossier containing ways to target the Proteas players was leaked to the media overnight.
“It’s nothing new, I haven’t really read it myself and from the things I’ve heard it contains nothing that we didn’t expect,” said Smith.
“All of us have played enough cricket against Australia, we know what it is going to take to be victorious here and we have prepared that way. I think our preparation has been clinical, good and intelligent, we are all looking forward to starting tomorrow.”