South Africa vs Australia: Steve Smith looks forward to taking on hosts' pace challenge in Test series

Smith said he was aware of Australia's proud record of not having lost a Test series in South Africa on seven tours in the modern era.

AFP, Feb 18, 2018 15:16:26 IST

Johannesburg: A refreshed Australia captain Steve Smith is looking forward to the challenge of taking on South Africa's fast bowlers in a four-Test series starting in Durban on 1 March.

His sentiment may not be shared by the tail-enders of both teams, though.

When Australia beat England 4-0 in their recent home Ashes series, the tourists' lower order was blown away by aggressive short-pitched bowling from pace trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

File image of Australia's Steve Smith. AP

File image of Australia's Steve Smith. AP

Smith said on Saturday he expected his bowlers to "go down a similar path" in South Africa, even though the hosts have the firepower to hit back through Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and new-find Lungi Ngidi.

"There could be some good short-pitched bowling from both sides, to the batters, to the tail, everyone from both sides," said Smith.

"I think it's great. I'm excited by it. You love coming up against the best bowlers around the world.

"The batters should be looking forward to this series. You love coming up against good pace. I think it's going to be a fantastic series for the viewers to watch."

Smith took a break from cricket after a one-day series against England at the end of January. He said he realised he needed the rest when he didn’t even want to pick up a bat.

"But five or six days ago I wanted to do it again," he said.

Smith said he was aware of Australia's proud record of not having lost a Test series in South Africa on seven tours in the modern era.

"It means a lot. Coming to South Africa you have the most similar conditions to Australia. This is going to be a good challenge to keep that record up."

The Australian captain said a series defeat at home to South Africa in November 2016 had been a low point for Australian cricket.

"It'll be great if we can turn the tide here in South Africa."

The Australians will play against South Africa A in a three-day match starting in Benoni on Thursday before moving on to Durban to prepare for the first Test.

Updated Date: Feb 18, 2018 15:16:26 IST


IPL 2019 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Chennai
9 7 2 0 14
2
Mumbai
10 6 4 0 12
3
Delhi
10 6 4 0 12
4
Punjab
10 5 5 0 10
5
Hyderabad
8 4 4 0 8
6
Kolkata
9 4 5 0 8
7
Rajasthan
9 3 6 0 6
8
Bangalore
9 2 7 0 4
See Full Table





Top Stories

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5007 116
2 New Zealand 3570 108
3 South Africa 4397 105
4 Australia 4566 104
5 England 5490 104
6 Sri Lanka 4737 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 7259 123
2 India 8508 120
3 New Zealand 6071 112
4 South Africa 6181 112
5 Australia 5701 108
6 Pakistan 5147 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 5280 135
2 India 5726 122
3 England 3036 121
4 Australia 3613 120
5 South Africa 3366 120
6 New Zealand 3367 116