Centurion - South Africa captain Graeme Smith describes Sri Lanka as a "pretty crafty team."
tourists will likely need all their guile to deal with the Proteas pace
attack on a fiercesome-looking pitch when the first Test starts on
Smith said on the eve of the series-opener that the Sri
Lankans would be targeted by his fast bowlers in helpful home
conditions. A very green wicket at SuperSport Park has reinforced
predictions of an onslaught by South Africa's quicks.
reality that Sri Lanka face, that our pace bowlers are in their own
conditions and want to exploit that," Smith said.
Yet even South
Africa's skipper would have been surprised by how fast bowler-friendly
the Centurion surface appeared on Wednesday after plenty of rain this
week at the stadium just north of Johannesburg.
"The wicket is
looking pretty green. I think the groundsman has got a small panic going
on at the moment," Smith said. "It could be interesting, especially day
one, it looks like it might do a little bit."
pointing to a straight battle between South Africa's fast bowlers and
Sri Lanka's batsmen, Smith warned that his fired-up attack should not
get too carried away after strike bowler Dale Steyn promised to make
things as uncomfortable as possible for the Sri Lankans.
control is a big word. For our bowlers not to get too emotional, to
execute their plans well. To be aggressive in the right mindset," he
Sri Lanka's touring Test team - now without Muttiah
Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga - has been seen by some as one of the
country's weakest in recent history. A raft of injuries to fast bowlers
has further hampered the Sri Lankans ahead of their first Test series in
South Africa in nine years.
The Proteas, meanwhile, failed to
close out recent home series against Australia, India and England - and
lacked the killer instinct, Smith said - but the host still has the
status as clear favourite against an unknown and unpredictable Sri Lanka.
always find a way. They're a pretty crafty team," Smith said. "We've
all played enough cricket to know that if you don't give things the
right amount of mental attitude and concentration, you could easily slip
on that banana.
"(Recently) we've been neither here nor there.
We've been successful but haven't had enough to get over the line and
really dominate and win those series at home."