Proteas in Australia

Smith out to strike early

2012-11-08 11:31
Graeme Smith (Gallo)

Brisbane - South Africa captain Graeme Smith wants to keep the anniversary of Australia's humiliating capitulation for 47 fresh in the minds of the home side at the opening Brisbane Test on Friday.

It will be almost 12 months to the day when the Proteas skittled the Australians for their lowest total against South Africa at Newlands on the way to a crushing eight-wicket win.

Smith didn't miss the opportunity of reminding Michael Clarke's Australians of their day of ignominy on the eve of the first of three Tests between the top-ranked South Africa and the number three Aussies.

Pace duo Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander rocked the Australians in Cape Town and are threatening to wreak similar havoc on a greenish Gabba pitch, where South Africa last played in 1963.

"(Coach Kirsten) Gary's daughter is turning one on Friday and she was born on that day. It's quite easy to remember," Smith said on Thursday.

"To have Australia 21 for 9 is something that's quite hard to fathom today.

"Our goal is to get into the (Australian) batting order and create a lot of pressure. If we can do that first up, hopefully we can create a bit of doubt."

Steyn and Philander, the top two bowlers in Test cricket, are key to South Africa's hopes of repeating their first-ever series win in Australia in 2009 and remaining the top Test nation.

"The thing is, you can bowl the speed of light, but how effective can you be. That's the key," Smith said of Steyn.

"Dale has proven that he can be both. Hopefully he'll show that in this Test match.

"Our goal is to have our fast bowlers to expose their top order quickly. That inexperience is hopefully something we can exploit."

Smith made light of reports in News Limited newspapers revealing a top-secret Australian dossier on every South African player and detailing plans for each player.

"I guess it's not that secret any more. Nothing really new," Smith said dismissively.

"All of us have played enough against Australia, we know what it's going to take to be victorious here.

"We try to keep it in the guys' heads as much as possible so dossiers aren't left lying around. To us it doesn't make a difference."

The Proteas will be defending the top Test ranking they claimed in England this year and Smith said beating Australia Down Under again was the next stepping stone.

"We'd love the opportunity to create a legacy. You've got to take steps at a time," he said.

"In international cricket today, there's a number of teams who have touched the number one ranking.

"This is the next stepping stone for us, and it's a big challenge. We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We believe we have the capabilities to create that, but you've got to go and earn it."

Smith said South Africa had developed an inner strength and adaptability to handle pressure.

"You don't travel from 2006 and be unbeaten away from home (in series) if you don't have the capability to adapt, to think on your feet and if you don't have the skills," he said.

"Our goal is to match up again like we did here in 2008-09. I don't expect to see us too emotional about things."

Smith, who earned great respect on the last tour to Australia with his leadership and batting in pain with a broken hand in the final Test, said his team were motivated to succeed again.

"Certainly that stuff that happens in the papers, and maybe things (former coach and now Australia coach) Mickey Arthur has said, have only added motivation to us," he said.

"It's something that has touched the motivation springs for us even more."

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