South Africa Keen To End Test Series Strongly

South Africa Keen To End Test Series Strongly
South Africa Keen To End Test Series Strongly
©REUTERS / Action Images

South Africa go into the third and final Test against Pakistan already guaranteed of another series victory but no less determined to end their summer on a winning note.

They haven't lost a Test match since December 2011, when Sri Lanka (also the last side to defeat them in a series away from home) beat them in Durban.

This outstanding run of form - 15 matches unbeaten - over an extended period has earned them the number one ranking in Test cricket, where they will stay when the ceremonial mace is awarded to the world-leading team in April.

For now though, captain Graeme Smith, is simply focussing on approaching this match, which gets underway tomorrow (22nd February) at Centurion Park, just as they have every other one this summer.

"It’s our last Test after what has been a lengthy but successful year (but) I don’t see the approach to this match being any different, we have approached it in the same way," he said. "It’s a quick turnaround between games so being mentally fresh and sharp in this game is going to be the challenge.

"We have worked hard at being a process driven team, and making sure we attack our challenges the same way each time. The energy at training yesterday was good and focused, and we would love to finish our summer of Test cricket in South Africa on a positive note."

Rory Kleinveldt is set to pick up Test cap number four, coming into the side in place of Morne Morkel, who has a hamstring injury and misses the game. Smith is backing the quick bowler to step in as a capable replacement and is pleased with the way he his game is improving.

"I think Adelaide was a big step for him,” he said referring to Kleinveldt’s second Test, after initially struggling on debut in Brisbane.

"The way he bounced back in Adelaide - Brisbane was a big learning curve for him - but he made some important impacts in Adelaide with the ball that would have given him a lot of confidence.

"I have seen him develop with the confidence at training, he looks assured about what he is doing, he looks like he belongs and hopefully that will go into his performance over the next five days.

"His performance in PE (second Test against New Zealand in January) was solid. He bowled well, created good chances and has some good pace and bounce with the ability to swing the ball both ways."

South Africa won the opening Test by 211 runs in th opening Test in Johannesburg and although they were pushed harder in the second match, were able to come back and beat Pakistan by four wickets in Cape Town.

© Cricket World 2013

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