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2004 to mark change of fortune for WI: Lara

West Indian skipper Brian Lara on Thursday said the new year would mark a reversal of fortunes for the visitors with several injured players returning to the pitch.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2004 21:07 IST

West Indian skipper Brian Lara, whose team is down 2-0 against South Africa in a four-match Test series, Thursday said the new year would mark a reversal of fortunes for the visitors with several injured players returning to the pitch.

Speaking on the eve of the third test in Newlands, Lara repeated that the West Indies would not face the whitewash defeat they suffered in five Tests in South Africa in 1998/99.

"I want to start the new year on a high," the SAPA news agency quoted Lara as saying in Newlands.

"This team is capable of beating anybody in the world. We wouldn't go into this Test match if we didn't think we could win it."

"I want us to put the past behind us this year and come out on top, starting right here in Cape Town.

Lara said "the South Africans want to repeat what happened in 1998 but we want to improve and win the next two Tests," adding: "What will help is that quite a few guys are coming back from injuries and hopefully we'll be able to pick from a full squad."

South Africa won the first Test in Johannesburg by 189 runs and the second in Durban by an innings and 65 runs.

Lara said he was confident that opening batsman Chris Gayle will be passed fit for the third Test and that a number of other injury-ridden players, including Shivnarine Chanderpaul, would also be in form.

South African captain Graeme Smith, whose fitness was the sole concern for the high-riding home team, on Thursday passed the fitness test.

Smith suffered an injury to his right hamstring when he slipped on a damp outfield on the first day of the Durban Test.

"The guys must grab the opportunities when they get them," Smith said on Thursday, referring to his team.

"Andre Nel took his chance at the Wanderers and he's taking wickets. Now it's Paul's (Adams) turn. I want Paul to put his hand up and make that spinning berth his own."

Both sides were likely to include a spinner on a track that has traditionally taken plenty of spin on the final few days.

Lara confirmed as much.

"I think both teams needed a spinner in Durban," he said. "South Africa used Jacques Rudolph with some success and we were also quite successful with Ramnaresh Sarwan. So the spinning option is definitely going to be taken into consideration here."

South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Mark Boucher (vice-captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Gary Kirsten, Neil McKenzie, Martin van Jaarsveld, Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Paul Adams, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel.

West Indies (from): Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Daren Ganga, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Smith, Ridley Jacobs, Carlton Baugh, Vasbert Drakes, Mervyn Dillon, Fidel Edwards, Ravindarnath Rampaul, Adam Sanford, Dave Mohammed, Corey Collymore.

Umpires: Daryl Harper (AUS), Srinivas Venkataraghavan (IND).

TV umpire: Ian Howell (RSA). Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI).

First Published: Jan 01, 2004 21:04 IST