Perth Test has given us self-belief, says South Africa skipper


Melbourne : Battling the pain of a tennis elbow, South Africa captain Graeme Smith said Thursday that his side is in a better position than hosts Australia ahead of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), starting Boxing Day.

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“From our perspective I think the guys are far more settled now, there’s a lot more self-belief in terms of what they’ve achieved as a team and individually in the last Test. I think there’ll be a few exciting moments but I think most guys are in a good space,” said Smith after the practice session here.

Smith said while the Proteas’ history-making victory in Perth had given his side extra self-belief, it was also handy having the first match completed after a long build-up to the series.

Smith said that the win will help the Proteas to seal the series here, as they did in England earlier this year when South Africa drew the first Test but improved markedly to win the next two which secured a series win.

“We had a few issues at Lord’s but that was the first Test match of a series (with) a lot of hype and build-up,” he said.

A win at the MCG will give South Africa their first series victory on Australian soil.

Smith said he was certain to play on Boxing Day despite having had his troubles with an injured right elbow this year. But his deputy Ashwell Prince is still in doubt with a thumb injury and a 50-50 prospect to play.

“It’s only seven days since the injury, which is borderline. We’ll see how he goes the next two days, but if he’s experiencing pain we probably wouldn’t risk him in this game,” Smith said.