Smith looks forward to Australia
Graeme Smith, the South African captain, is looking forward to the prospect of facing Australia. South Africa, unbeaten in their last nine Test series and No. 2 in the ICC rankings, will meet top-ranked Australia in three-Test series away and at home in the next six months. They are yet to win a Test series in Australia, and have not won a contest against them since their readmission in 1991.
"It's a tour that comes with a lot of expectation and a lot of pressure, with an emphasis on winning," Smith said after his team eased to a 2-0 win over Bangladesh. "But we're going there to play the cricket we've played the whole year, to be as prepared as we can be."
Smith said he felt more settled with the current team than the one he led to Australia in 2005-06, which South Africa lost 2-0. "There are going to be challenges I face as a leader and that's something I'm looking forward to," he said. "I've done some thinking about it in terms of scenarios and things that I'm going to face."
Smith backed his team-mates to deliver this time against Australia. "It shows the character of the team that when we have been in trouble, against England and earlier at home in the last year, we have had guys to pull us out of it," Smith said. "It's a sign of maturity, of experience and of how the team has grown. In the Bangladesh second innings, the bowlers really ran in and the body language in the field [was good]; that is the intensity we want to play with against Australia."
South Africa, after taking a 179-run lead in Centurion, bundled out Bangladesh in 36.4 overs to wrap up the second Test in three days. Although Bangladesh hardly stretched South Africa - both results were by an innings - Smith said the two matches were utilised to "work on a few things, talk about a few things and implement a few things."
Smith was expected to play for Rajasthan Royals in the Champions Twenty20 League, from December 3-10. However, its postponement due to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai gives South Africa "a little more time to prepare", with the possibility extra practice game ahead of the first Test in Perth on December 17. Smith said the move to have Duncan Fletcher, the former England coach, working with the team was a plus. "Duncan has added value, and I think he will add more value as he gets his teeth into the job. He has added a little new percentage new dimension."