'The track has a good grass covering throughout'
South African captain Graeme Smith is delighted that the Kingsmead track in Durban, known for its bounce and carry, is the best he had seen for some years, which should help his fast bowlers against Indian batsmen in the second Test starting on Sunday.
Smith said from what he had seen, the pitch, considered the bounciest in South Africa though it has slowed down a bit in recent times, is expected to live up to its reputation of the past.
"The pitch has been a bit patchy over the last few Tests. It has spun a bit more, taken more reverse swing and gone very flat in the middle period of matches. From what I've seen today, I can only hope it will get back to what it was when I first started playing here," Smith said.
"I'm a bit scared to pronounce on a pitch three days before a Test, but the track has a good grass covering throughout, certainly the best I've seen in Durban for a while which is good to see. We'll see how things develop with weather and everything over next couple of days, but hopefully the pitch will have good carry and bounce, that's all we're asking for," he said.
Image: Graeme Smith
'If we can go 2-0 up that will be fantastic'
Smith conceded that South Africa hadn't played well in Durban over the last few years, losing their last two Tests against England and Australia.
"We haven't been at our best in our last two matches here, so it's up to us to put that right now. We've had a good chat over how to play at our best here, and we have the players with the experience who know what it takes to do well here," said the Proteas captain.
He said the home team is taking a lot of confidence into the second Test after the innings victory in Centurion but they ill-afford to be complacent.
"We're certainly not getting too far ahead of ourselves. The team is very motivated to do well in this series and we have put in a lot of work to prepare for this particular period of our cricketing year, which also includes World Cup on the subcontinent. If we can go 2-0 up here that will be fantastic, but we're all keeping our feet on the ground," he said.
"If we can get two big days under our belt up front, then that will create pressure and make it particularly awkward for India," he said.
Image: South African team celebrates after winning the Test
'We need to execute our skills well'
Asked about any area of improvement in his side's game, Smith said, "There are always areas where we can improve and one of them is fielding.
"When the number one and two teams are playing, catches and run-outs can be the key so we've stepped up our focus in that area particularly. Otherwise, we need to execute our skills well, get the ball in the right areas and just play good Test match cricket," he added.
Image: Graeme Smith