SA in West Indies

Smith: We can still improve

2010-05-27 21:06
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The Proteas have gone from zero in the ICC World Twenty20 to the brink of an ODI series win over the West Indies.

Graeme Smith's men are currently 2-0 up in the five-match series and will be aiming to clinch the rubber this weekend with successive matches at Dominica's Windsor Park Stadium on Friday and again on Sunday (15:30 SA time in both instances).

The stadium represents new ground for the Proteas who have never played there before. The current ground was re-built at the time of the 2007 World Cup and hosted its first two ODIs against Bangladesh last year.

The past month's international cricket has been a time of reflection for the Proteas and also to take stock of current strengths and weaknesses.

"Four games ago we were all in a very disappointing place trying to sort ourselves out and taking the first steps forward to regain the confidence of the public and rebuild our confidence as a team," commented Smith ahead of Friday's match."

"We can still improve a lot but it is a nice position (2-0 up in a five-match series) to be in.

"At the start of this series there were only 15 odd matches up to the start of the World Cup, so it was important for us to start this series well. We have pointed out a few areas that we need to improve and power play 3 is obviously one of them. We also need to work on finishing well with bat and ball.

"The batters have done a good job so far, especially the top four or five. They have laid a good platform and we have got 280 and 300 on what has been a slow pitch with a slow outfield. We could maybe have got 320 in the second ODI."

On the subject of the third power play and hitting at the death Smith said "It is not always about hitting big sixes and big fours. These days you give away a run a ball in that power play. If you look at it from a benchmark perspective you are doing well if you get eight runs to the over and from a bowling perspective you are controlling that power play if you keep it below eight to the over.

"Eighty-five to 90 percent of the time we have been in control in these games and there are one or two big moments, especially in the last 20 overs, where we need to improve. Generally I think we are a lot better than we were in our last series in India in managing these issues.

Smith hinted that there may be changes in team selection in the remaining three games to explore various options. One player in doubt for Friday is Lonwabo Tsotsobe who is struggling with a bruised foot.

Read more on:    proteas  |  west indies

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