Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - Page 19 News List

South Africa press for clean sweep against Pakistan

AFP, CENTURION, South Africa

South Africa will press for a clean sweep when they meet Pakistan in the third and final Test starting at SuperSport Park today.

After a comfortable 211-run win in the first Test in Johannesburg, South Africa were made to work hard before clinching the series with a four-wicket win in the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town.

The second victory was achieved on a surface which captain Graeme Smith said did not suit his team, whose bowling attack is based on pace.

Centurion has traditionally favored fast bowlers and the South Africans will feel confident they can prevail again in conditions more familiar than those in which Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took 10 wickets in Cape Town.

South Africa coach Gary Kirsten said that the hosts wanted a pitch that was more seam friendly than Newlands.

“We just don’t want a pitch that turns a lot,” he said.

Smith has been racking up captaincy records during the series, notching 100 Test captaincies in Johannesburg and a record 49th win as captain in Cape Town.

Under his leadership, South Africa have won 21 series — but none of them has featured a clean sweep in a series of three or more matches.

With greater batting depth and the world’s two leading fast bowlers in Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, South Africa appear to hold most of the aces, although they will be without injured paceman Morne Morkel, who is replaced by Rory Kleinveldt.

Pakistan hope left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan will have recovered from injury. He was Pakistan’s most impressive bowler in the first Test, but missed the second because of a thigh problem.

Given Ajmal’s success at Newlands, Pakistan may be tempted to pick a second spinner, left-armer Abdur Rehman.

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