India under pressure in third Test: Graeme Smith

April 10th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by admin  

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Kanpur, April 10 (IANS) Exuding confidence, South Africa captain Graeme Smith said Thursday that India were under pressure to win the third and final Test, starting here Friday, to square the series. He said India have injury problems and selection dilemma ahead of the crucial five-day match. “I think we are definitely more confident going into this Test match. We are the team under less pressure. India is the team with more question marks, in terms of selection, in terms of injuries, in terms of being 1-0 down in the series,” Smith told reporters at the Green Park Stadium here.

“For us, the main thing is about maintaining the standards that we have produced throughout the season.”

India lost the second Test by an innings and 90 runs in Ahmedabad after a tame draw in Chennai.

Smith pointed out that beating India at home was one of the toughest challenges for visiting teams.

“Only two teams have beaten India in India in the last 20 years. That proves how tough the India tour is,” he said referring to the series wins by Pakistan (in 1999), South Africa (2000) and Australia (2004).

“Our team has waited the whole season to come here and beat Pakistan first, then Bangladesh. Now we are well prepared to go into this Test match and continue to play the same brand of cricket.”

The battle at the Green Park Stadium is expected to be between the spinners of rival teams as the pitch is likely to assist the slow bowlers after the South African speedsters gained a lot of encouragement from the Ahmedabad pitch.

“We have two spinners in our squad (Paul Harris and Robin Peterson). We will obviously look at this option today (Thursday) in the practice session. We got plans working for us in the last two matches, and we have plans to go into this Test also. Hope it works here,” he said.

The pitch has been the centre of attraction for the last few days and so it was for both teams Thursday.

“There has been a lot of speculation over the wickets throughout the series. In the hindsight, for us it is like coming to grounds, address the wickets and play to our potential,” he said.

“It is about maintaining our focus, executing our plans and hopefully adapt to the wicket that we get here. I am sure we are the better-prepared team going into the Test match.”

Smith reminded reporters of South Africa’s batting performance in the first Test in Chennai, where they piled up 540 in the first innings and India replied with 627 as the match ended in a tame draw.

“It is just a question of adapting to the wicket. There were a lot of talk about the wicket in Chennai, but we adapted well there,” he said.

The last time the two teams played in here, in 2004, the match ended in a dull draw after weather disrupted play.

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