Mon, Dec 25, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Graeme Smith says South Africa can bounce back

AP , DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

Captain Graeme Smith believes he can overcome his poor form and still lead South Africa to victory against India when their Test cricket series resumes at Kingsmead tomorrow.

India won the first Test by 123 runs in Johannesburg last week, when Smith scored 5 and 10. He has only two half-centuries in 19 innings in the last 19 months. Before the Test, the Proteas swept the one-day series in which Smith scored 79 of his 80 runs in the series in the last match.

"We know we have a fight on our hands, and we're up for it," Smith told the South African Press Association on Saturday.

"We know we played badly in the first Test at the Wanderers, but we have no doubt that we can beat India and win the series. We have to be sharper and more clinical. But we've had some hard talks, and we are going to be working very hard over the next three days," he said.

"There's no doubt about the quality of the team. Everyone was raving about our bowling attack in the one-day series, now suddenly, we play badly in one Test and people say we don't have a good enough bowling attack. The quality is still there, and this is a highly motivated team. We know what we have to do to improve, and we intend to do it," Smith said.

Smith admitted he and the team were aware of public criticism, and feeling pressure to perform at Kingsmead.

"We pride ourselves on doing well at home, and you're always under more pressure at home, if you don't do well," he said.

"The media really went to town this week, some true, some maybe not true and the public can be very demanding. But that's because they care, and want us to do well, which is important," Smith said.

"When a team is under pressure, it's important to keep things simple. So there won't be any radical changes, just some hard work. One loss doesn't make us a bad team. We just have to perform better," he said.

He said he'd been on his technique with former Proteas opener and school coach Jimmy Cook, and felt more comfortable.

"Technical problems tend to creep in when you haven't had time in the middle," he said.

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