Durban - South Africa would not be daunted by their poor recent record at Sahara
Stadium Kingsmead in Durban ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka
at the same venue which starts on Boxing Day, Proteas captain Graeme
Smith said on Friday.
South Africa have lost their last three Tests at Kingsmead, against
Australia, England and India, with the last win in Durban coming against
West Indies in January 2008.
But Smith said that he and his team-mates would be using their poor
record at Kingsmead as motivation for the test against Sri Lanka.
“It’s been extremely disappointing the way we have played at Kingsmead,” Smith told a news conference in Durban.
“For me it is a motivation to try and put that right. I don’t come here
with any self-doubt or any doubts as to why we haven’t performed here.
It is a fresh start and I want to perform well here and everyone in the
team feels the same. The positive mindset of wanting to turn things
around is something that we are all focused on,” he explained.
South Africa started their three-Test series against Sri Lanka with a
bang thanks to an innings and 81-run shellacking of the tourists at
SuperSport Park in Centurion. Sri Lanka’s experienced batsmen did not
fire in the first Test as they battled to get to grips with a swinging
and seaming ball but Smith said that the Proteas would not be taking the
likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan
“In the past South Africa has been on the backend of some big
partnerships from Sri Lanka. We fully respect what they are capable of,”
“It’s our goal to keep them on the back foot as long as possible, to not
allow them to find that rhythm and freedom with which they like to
play. If we can keep them under pressure then we are doing our job. They
are class players, especially Mahela and Kumar, so if we can keep our
foot on them then that will be great,” he added.
Durban had been subjected to hot weather in the week building up to the Test, although rain fell on Friday, the Proteas’ first day of training
in the coastal city.
The hot and windy weather has meant that the pitch was rock hard before
the rain fell which should provide good bounce and carry for South
Africa’s fast bowlers although they may struggle to find the extravagant
seam movement they produced at Centurion.
Smith admitted that he had not seen the pitch as it was under covers
because of the inclement weather but said that the Kingsmead wicket,
once regarded as one of the bounciest wickets in South Africa, had been
rather fickle in recent years.
“It’s been quite unpredictable in terms of how the wicket has played the last few times I have been here,” he explained.
“It always used to have a lot more pace and bounce than most of our
other grounds. It has got a bit slower over time and taken a bit more
spin. We will have to adapt well as a team which is something that is
crucial to the way we play in Durban and that is something that we
haven’t done well (recently),” he added.