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Smith's wicket could be key: Buchanan

The Aussie coach says his bowlers' ability to dismiss the SA captain could be decisive in the one-day series.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 23:00 IST
Reuters
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Coach John Buchanan says Australia's ability to dismiss South African captain and opener Graeme Smith could be decisive in the one-day series.

Smith has compiled unbeaten innings of 89 in the Twenty20 match and 119 in South Africa's six-wicket victory in Sunday's opening one-dayer in Centurion.

"He's obviously batted very well in the last two games and he's a key player for them," Buchanan told journalists on Wednesday.

"He gives them good momentum at the top of the order and by the way he exudes himself on the field. So we've re-looked at our strategy— whether we can deliver is another matter."

Smith's return to form after a miserable tour of Australia has inspired the South African team, AB de Villiers said.

"It's had a massive effect on the rest of the players. If the captain performs, it rubs off on everyone else. It adds to everybody's confidence.

"When you see your captain in trouble, it definitely has a negative effect. Especially when it is young team, like we are, it plays a massive role."

Buchanan was in buoyant mood after training on Wednesday with the tourists needing to win Friday night's second one-day international to square the five-match series.

"The last couple of days have been excellent and in terms of skills I'm very pleased with where we're at," he said.

"We have a couple of injuries we could do without but now it's just about the application of those skills on Friday night and on Sunday."

Captain Ricky Ponting and all rounder Andrew Symonds both seem certain to miss Friday's match with muscle injuries.

However, the tourists will be boosted by the arrival of NSW batsman Phil Jaques on Thursday.

"When Phil arrives we will have 13 fit players and (selector) Andrew Hilditch arrives soon, too, so I guess they'll make a call on his selection soon," said Buchanan.

"He's been brought over to strengthen the top order, if selected, and he's enjoyed most of his success at the top of the order so I would think he's being seen as an opening batsman."

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 23:00 IST