We're the underdogs, claims Prince
"Sri Lanka will have the edge. But we are determined to face the challenge," he added.india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 15:10 IST
South Africa captain Ashwell Prince admits his inexperienced squad, missing three senior players including first-choice skipper Graeme Smith, start their Test series against Sri Lanka as the underdogs.
"We are coming here without three of our regulars -- Smith, Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock - so considering this and the fact we are playing away from home makes us the underdogs in the series," Prince told reporters on his team's arrival.
"They have been enjoying a good time. Mahela (Jayawardene) has been doing well as captain and as a batsman, Sangakkara (Kumar) has been among the runs and Sanath Jayasuriya has done well on his return.
"Sri Lanka will have the edge. But we are determined to face the challenge," he added.
Prince, the first coloured player to captain South Africa, also pinpointed spinner Muttiah Muralitharan as the major threat during a two-match series that starts on July 27 at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Muralitharan, in superb form against England in June, has taken 82 wickets in 13 tests against South Africa at an average of 23.34. His record at home is even better with 47 wickets from seven games.
"Our main worry will be Murali," said Prince. "We've got a lot of footage and we will be analysing how best to combat him."
Smith and Kallis both miss the tour because of injuries while Pollock has stayed home to be with his pregnant wife. South Africa hope he will be able to rejoin the team for the second test starting Aug. 4.
In the meantime, Prince backed his players to give Sri Lanka a good fight.
"The critics say that experience counts a lot and one of our replacements, Jacques Rudolph, was actually the only batsman to score a Test century the last time we toured here," said Prince.
"The other guy coming back is Herschelle Gibbs so both have the experience to perform," he said.