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'Looking forward to the next step'

Durban, December 24, 2013, DHNS 22:11 IST
South African skipper Graeme Smith on Tuesday said the hosts were ready for the second Test Durban despite playing an emotional and physically draining first Test at the Wanderers a couple of days ago.

Excerpts from his media interaction:

On conditions being different in Durban: I think the Wanderers wicket has been a result wicket. Generally, it's been a tougher place to bat. Let me just say up front that we haven’t had the best record in Durban over a period of time and we're looking forward to the opportunity to put that right now. I think one of the reasons why is that because we haven’t adapted to the surface as well and I thin we've had good discussions over that now.

Having said that, it's a surface that can change every day. Stats do say that day two is maybe a more difficult day to bat than day one. Kingsmead can get hot, it can get flat and then there are times it can do a bit. It's just about reading those moments of the game well.On the possible absence of Morne Morkel: We've been really fortunate over the last period of time that we haven’t had too many, touchwood, serious injuries to our frontline seamers. I think a decision will be made about Morne later, so there's still hope that he'll come through.

But outside that, we've seen performances from guys that have been in and around the squad. Guys like Kyle (Abbot), that has come in for cover for him, he's played a one-off Test match and played very well. Rory Kleinveldt has been around the squad for a period of time, had a taste of international cricket at its toughest in Australia. So I feel we have enough bases covered to hopefully still be effective even if he's not fit.

On being mentally ready for the second Test: I'm actually looking forward to it, the stop-start nature of our Test summer has made it difficult to keep starting again. I think certainly having played a Test match like that, all of us now are looking forward to taking the next step again.

On the importance of opening partnership: I think the top three in any Test line-up play a crucial role. I think if you go back generations you'll see there's no successful team without a top three...guys who can put in performances and set games up. It's important that we do the hard yards for them (middle-order). From my perspective, it's great to see Alviro play well. I think it's 20-odd Test matches we've now been together and we'd love to carry that on.

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