Smith undaunted by dry pitch

Updated on Apr 10, 2008 04:45 PM IST

SA skipper Graeme Smith warns India that such a ploy could boomerang as his team has more bowling options.

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HT Image
PTI | ByM R Mishra, Kanpur

Unfazed by the dry pitch provided for the third and final cricket Test, South African captain Graeme Smith on Thursday warned India that such a ploy could boomerang as his team had more bowling options at its disposal.

Smith, seeking to lead South Africa to a landmark Test series triumph on Indian soil, said his team was confident and prepared to face any challenge thrown at them.

"We are not worried about the pitch. We have to maintain our focus. For us, its just about executing our game plan well. I believe things have worked for us so far and it will work again," Smith said on the eve of the crucial game.

"We have a settled team now and we are more comfortable in handling everything thrown at us. The pressure will be more on India", he said.
After an innings victory in three days in Ahmedabad, the Proteas skipper knows the onus is on the hosts as the visitors are sitting pretty with a 1-0 lead in the series.

"Definitely, we are a more confident team now after winning in Ahmedabad. There will be less pressure on us. India has more question marks in terms of fitness and composition of the team," the South African opener said.

He said the pitch prepared for the match has opened up a lot of possibilities.

"With the pitch looking as it does, it has certainly opened up a lot of possibilities. We have got a lot of variety in our bowling. We also have spinners who can exploit the conditions."

Asked whether he expected the track to crack from the third day onwards, Smith quipped "not pretty sure. The pitch has already cracked though."

Smith said his team will adopt a game plan after observing how the Green Park pitch behaved.

"In such a situation, the plans keep changing according to the situation."

On whether the presence of a half-fit Indian captain Anil Kumble would give an advantage to South Africa, he said it would be a tough call for Kumble.

"It's a difficult one for Kumble. Obviously, he wants to lead the team but he has to take several factors into account. If he is not fit, a new captain has to take over for the important game. So it's tough whether to take that risk or not," he said.

"He (Kumble) certainly could not bowl the spells (he is capable of) in the last game. So he has a difficult decision to make", he said.

On Kumble's statement that India had drawn up certain plans for the third Test, he said "All the teams prepare to beat the opposition. We too have plans, its part of playing Test cricket."

Asked to compare the South African team that last played a Test in Kanpur in 2004, Smith said the team was different then with a lot of fringe players.

"Now we have a settled team and a confident team," he added.

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