Proteas up for final Test

  • Last Updated: February 21 2013, 16:54 GMT

South Africa captain Graeme Smith does not think his side will relax in the final Test against Pakistan in Centurion despite already wrapping up a series victory last week.

Graeme Smith: South Africa skipper
Graeme Smith: South Africa skipper

The Proteas take an unassailable 2-0 lead into the clash, which gets under way on Friday, after a 211-run win in Johannesburg was followed by a four-wicket triumph at Cape Town.

It was their fifth successive Test victory as well as their fifth successive series success as they cemented their number one ranking.

Indeed, they have now not been beaten in the format since December 2011 and Smith is keen to extend that run as well as seal a whitewash against Pakistan.

"Being mentally sharp is going to be the challenge but I think we will be," Smith said in quotes published by cricinfo.com.

"The energy at training was good and we would love to finish our summer of Test cricket on a positive note."

This will be the Proteas' last Test match until they play the reverse fixture against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October.

Therefore Smith is keen to keep confidence levels at an all-time high in Centurion.

"When we start playing again later in the year there won't be any time to find our feet again. Hopefully the confidence will be as strong as it is now," he said.

"The squad is performing well as a group. We've got some highly skilled players. Hopefully we can pick up from that."

Opening batsman Smith, who will captain LV= County Championship First Division side Surrey during the English county season, is also determined to remain captain of South Africa for as long as possible.

There had been speculation Smith's deal with Surrey was a prelude to stepping down as captain, but he remains as focused as ever after becoming the only person to captain a side in 100 Tests in Johannesburg.

Ahead of match 102, he added: "I'm running out of things to say. I am looking forward to that number growing even more. It's a great achievement for me and the guys that I have played with.

"Hopefully when I reflect back on this one day I can say that as a team we did ourselves proud and not that we left ourselves short. I will be extremely proud to be saying I could take South Africa to number one in the world and that we could stay there."

With Morne Morkel suffering an injury in Cape Town, Rory Kleinveldt will get a chance to impress the South African selectors in the only likely change.

Pakistan, meanwhile, may drop Tanvir Ahmed after he took just one wicket in two innings last time out, with Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adi and Abdur Rehman all in contention.

Although the tourists were humiliated in Johannesburg, being bowled out for 49 in their first innings, they were more than competitive in Cape Town.

However, after centuries from Younus Khan and Asad Shafiq had put Pakistan in a decent position after the first innings, they crumpled from 147 for five to 169 all out in the second to hand the initiative straight back to South Africa.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq has therefore called for more from his batsmen.

"We need to improve our batting. We need some consistency," he said.

"It's not about one innings in Test cricket. You have to post big totals in every innings."


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