We worked for this series three years: Smith

January 1st, 2009 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 1 (IANS) South African skipper Graeme Smith said planning for the Australia tour had started three years ago. For him the next step is to become the top Test playing nation by winning the third Test, starting here Saturday.South Africa have already conquered Perth and Melbourne to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and if they win here they will replace Australia as the number one Test side.

Smith described the series against Australia as the “beginning of a new era” for South African cricket.

“It’s fair to say we started talking about this tour almost as soon as we arrived home three years ago. It has always been in the back of our minds, even through this year when we had tours to India and England,” Smith wrote in his column in the Daily Telegraph.

“If I was still in the habit of sticking notes on my fridge door, I would have stuck one there three years ago and it would simply have said: “Win in Australia next time.” The challenge now, as it was with my captaincy, is not to treat the achievement as “mission accomplished” but to use it as the start of a brand new journey, a new era.”

Smith said after losing 2-0 three years ago, he and coach Mickey Arthur drew up a three-year plan.

“We identified what we believed we needed to win in Australia and then identified the players we thought could do the job. We then backed them and supported them, especially through the lean times.”

“I can assure you there will be absolutely no sense of anti-climax about the Sydney Test. We are all very aware of the prize that awaits us if we can win again and we have all dreamed of being No. 1.”

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