Good Start Important - Smith

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith has emphasised the importance of a good start to the two-Test series
©REUTERS / Action Images

South Africa captain Graeme Smith has emphasised the importance of his side making a good start to the first Test against India at The Wanderers in Johannesburg.

While it might at first glance appear to be a tired cliché that is trotted out before every series, he makes the valid point that your start is vital in a short two-Test series.

With recent history and a loss to Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in a similar series on their minds, Smith is confident that this time will be different.

"Most of the guys have played more cricket now, which is always good," he said

"We have discussed the areas where we let ourselves down in that first Test against Pakistan. We responded well and we have played some positive cricket since then.

"We understand that tomorrow and this first Test is an important Test match in a two-match series; we can’t afford to take a day or two to hit our straps."

And although India have one once and drawn twice at The Wanderers, Smith is hardly concerned by their past record at the ground.

"We have played enough at the Wanderers to know that both first innings' will be tough," Smith said.

"There is a bit of moisture in the wicket, the cracks are looking good, not as much as the WACA looked this morning, but I expect it to be a normal Wanderers wicket of recent times.
"Batting in South Africa is probably one of the toughest places to bat against the new ball," he continued.

"If we can set up good platforms and give ourselves the opportunity to post totals, then I think we will give ourselves a good chance of winning the Test match."

Smith highlights the confidence in his current squad as one of the things that sets him apart from other squads he has been involved with as the Proteas continue their reign as the number one ranked Test side.

"The big thing is the confidence in knowing that we can win and we can win in situations, the confidence in each other’s ability is also great," he said.

"This team has won games and series, The Ashes now puts into perspective the type of performances we have been able to put in during the last period of time."

© Cricket World 2013

Fixtures & Results

5th December: 1st ODI, Johannesburg
RSA 358-4 beat IND 217 by 141 runs
8th December: 2nd ODI, Durban
RSA 280-6 beat IND 146 by 134 runs
11th December: 3rd ODI, Centurion
RSA 301-8 v IND - no result, rain
18th-22nd December: 1st Test, Johannesburg
IND 280 & 421 drew with RSA 244 & 450-7
26th-30th December: 2nd Test, Durban
RSA 500 & 59-0 beat IND 334 & 223 by 10 wickets