'Don't expect similar pitches' - Smith warns New Zealand
Graeme Smith, the South African captain, has told New Zealand not to expect similar pitches to the one they came across at Bloemfontein during the first ODI, a pitch that was meant to suit the tourists' bowling attack but one on which they ended up losing a tight match.
Smith was quoted on www.stuff.co.nz as saying that the dry, slow and low bounce nature of the Bloemfontein pitch suited New Zealand's attack and game plans. "I think they would be very happy coming to South Africa and finding wickets like these. That's why I was so pleased our guys fought back from being in a tight spot and showed a lot of character. Getting that win takes the pressure off us and helps you relax a lot."
All the remaining pitches through the series, barring the one at Port Elizabeth, the venue for the third match, are expected to be firm and fast. Smith said, "That will suit us better because we have more pace bowlers than them around the 130km mark. They played two spinners and have Astle also taking the pace off the ball."
Andrew Hall will not be a part of the South Africa squad for the second and third one-day internationals against New Zealand and has been released to play provincial cricket for Highveld Lions.
AB de Villiers, the young opener, who was released to play a four-day match last week, returns to the squad.
"We are rotating our players in order for them to get valuable time in the middle," said Haroon Lorgat, a national selector.
"At this early stage in our season it is a difficult but important strategy."
Meanwhile, Stephen Fleming, New Zealand captain, is hoping he can call on his own allrounders, Jacob Oram - to bolster their pace bowling resources for the second match on Friday - and possibly Scott Styris. Both players are suffering from injury at the moment.
"It would be great to get those two back playing a full part. But we will just have to wait for the green light, we are used to waiting for injured players."
Fleming was also fulsome in his praise of Justin Kemp, whose 73 from 64 balls, finally turned the match South Africa's way. "Whenever we have toured here in the past someone has always stepped up like Lance Klusener, or Pollock or Boucher. When you are getting up to sevens and eights you need something special. Kemp played an extremely good innings on a tough surface. He's done it before; it was no fluke.
"But if we have to make them play that well again we are going to win a majority. I look back to the home series in New Zealand and we won those games but they got one back on us."