Pakistan v SA

Proteas eye silverware

2010-11-19 15:57
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Dubai - The Castle Test series between the Proteas and India is still just under a month away but inevitably the focus will be on both sides when they start the final matches of their respective series against Pakistan and New Zealand on Saturday.

Both series are locked at 0-0 after one and two matches respectively against opponents who are ranked well below them on the official ICC Test match table.

This is the last Test match both teams will play before they go head to head at SuperSport Park on December 16 and they will want to wrap up their current series in convincing style.

The Proteas go into the Pakistan match with no concerns on the batting front. Their top six continues to pound out of the runs in large numbers and at a good rate with Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis all making centuries last time out.

“For us it has been a successful tour so far in terms of the end result and we would love to add the Test Series to that,” commented Smith. “It is hard work in these conditions for five days and you need to be able to string a lot of good things together. If we can get onto the plane on Wednesday night with another trophy it will be nice.

“Getting 20 wickets is the big challenge in these conditions and hopefully our batting unit can lay the platform for us to do well.

“Again the pitch is an unknown. It looks pretty similar to Dubai but maybe there are a few cracks on there that might open up in the heat.”

There is also encouraging form on the bowling front even if the Proteas could not overcome a flat track at Dubai.
Dale Steyn, who has been far and away the leading wicket-taker in the Proteas’ successful run in this format of the game over the past three years, is now very close to full cricket fitness after being out of action for a long period through injury.

He did not have the benefit of a warm-up match before the first Test which meant that he went into the game without any first-class mileage under his belt.

His new ball partner, Morne Morkel, had an excellent game at Dubai taking the third five-wicket haul of his career in the first innings.

Johan Botha also did well as an attacking spinner and has now taken 11 wickets in his last two Tests for the Proteas.

The one big decision for the Proteas is how best to balance the bowling attack. In Dubai they played two specialist quicks and two specialist spinners with Jacques Kallis providing the additional bowling option.

They do have the additional variety available of playing a left-arm seamer in the form of Lonwabo Tsotsobe or Wayne Parnell and that is something they may want to consider.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  proteas

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