Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

S Africa braces for fourth test with England


Captain Graeme Smith said South Africa would prove its superiority to England in the fourth test at Headingley starting today, despite conceding advantage in the five-test series.

South Africa was hammered by 70 runs as Michael Vaughan's team leveled the series 1-1 at Trent Bridge on Monday after dominating the first two tests.

"We want to prove we're the better team playing the better cricket," Smith said. "I don't feel we were beaten by a better team on a better wicket.

"We are sure we were beaten by the wicket. We're not feeling down on ourselves, and still feel we haven't lost the momentum even through the series is 1-1."

England is the favorite to take the series lead, traveling 112.65km miles north of Trent Bridge to Vaughan's home ground. A win would put the home side in an unbeatable position before the final test at The Oval.

Outplayed in the first two tests, a lucky England won a war of attrition in the third on a pitch that played well on the first day, and then got uneven and two-paced and wore quickly.

"The side is hungry to come back. We're not upset [with the result] we're more disappointed," Smith said. "We can produce the kind of cricket we played in the first two tests, and it is about taking responsibility in the batting and bowling departments.

"We're irritated at the result. England wanted to do well at Trent Bridge, rightly so they did. It's up to us now to bounce back."

South Africa will be without playmaker Shaun Pollock who returned home to Durban after Trent Bridge to be with his wife Trisha, who is expecting their first child. The allrounder will rejoin the squad for the final test.

"We didn't have Jacques [Kallis] in the first two tests, but we still played well [and won]," said Smith. "They are big shoes to fill and we'll manage some how."


* England: Michael Vaughan (captain), Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher, Nasser Hussain, Ed Smith, Alec Stewart, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, James Kirtley, Steve Harmison, James Anderson, Martin Bicknell and Kabir Ali

* South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Gary Kirsten, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Boeta Dippenaar, Mark Boucher, Andrew Hall, Makhaya Ntini, Dewald Pretorius, Charl Willoughby and Paul Adams

* Umpires: Simon Taufel, Australia, and Billy Bowden, New Zealand

* Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle, Sri Lanka

South Africa will replace an out-of-form Jacques Rudolph with fellow left hander Gary Kirsten, who missed the last test with a torn muscle in his right hand.

The tourists will choose between seam and swing bowlers Dewald Pretorius and Charl Willoughby to replace Pollock.

If the pitch remains true to its tradition -- seamer friendly -- South Africa might select both Pretorius and Willoughby and drop leftarm spinner Paul Adams, and name a five-man seam attack.

England may also choose with a similar attack. The home side recalled swing bowler Martin Bicknell after a 10-year absence, and rookie fast bowler Kabir Ali in a 13-man squad.

The pair were called up as a cover for fast bowler Steve Harmison (torn calf muscle).

Vaughan said after the win the pressure was on England.

"I think the pressure is probably on," said Vaughan. "One-all, everyone will expected us to put the same performance [and] the pressure is on us to continue from where we left off here.

"We'll try and play it in the same disciplined manner with both bat and ball."

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