South Africa look to rebound at Newlands

South African players have worked hard in practice and are eager to bounce back in the third ODI against England at Newlands says captain Graeme Smith.

updated: November 27, 2009 19:17 IST
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Cape Town, South Africa:

South Africa have underperformed in its last two games against England, but its players have worked hard in practice and are eager to bounce back in the third one-dayer at Newlands says captain Graeme Smith.

"England have played very well and we'll have to be at the top of our game tomorrow," said Smith in a pre-match press conference on Thursday. "They played the big moments better at Centurion, they played the (big) situations with responsibility. But I've been pleased with our guys' honesty and energy this week."

In the wake of the seven-wicket defeat at Centurion on Sunday that put England 1-0 up in the series with three matches to play, Smith said his team had to up its game if it wanted to compete.

"We've worked hard and we must play to our potential. If a team is putting on a 150-run partnership against you like at Centurion, it looks like you don't have the answers. But we are all motivated to put in a better performance," Smith said.

He said he did not set too much store by the notion that whoever batted first in a Newlands day-nighter was almost assured of winning.

"I don't think it's like that too much any more. There's not as much grass (on the wicket) as before," Smith said.

The Proteas captain also said no special attention would be paid to South Africa-born England batsman Jonathan Trott, who has been in good form on tour and who struck a fine 87 at Centurion.

Trott's origins and the fact that he was a former teammate in the SA under-19 and Western Province teams did not bother him, Smith said. If anything pained him about Trott, it was that someone in an England shirt was scoring runs against South Africa.

Reflecting on the number of South African-born players now playing for other countries, Smith joked that someone should "work with the Rand (the South African currency)."

"These days it's more financial," Smith said in reference to South African players moving abroad and trying to secure good contracts.

England captain Andrew Strauss said it would be important for his side to maintain its winning momentum in the current series.

"In the past maybe we have not been so good at following up a win with a better performance. We have to try to do that," Strauss said. "When you have a bit of a run of (good) form, the last thing you want to do is give the opposition a chance to come back.

"South Africa are a quality side ... to expect them to roll over and die would be pretty naive."

England are expected to bring back allrounder Stuart Broad after injury, while the Proteas might bolster their bowling resources by including left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell.

Strauss is also hoping to be able to select off-spinner Graeme Swann, who was battling to overcome a side strain.

Swann bowled at Wednesday's practice session but if he is not fit to play, off-spinner James Tredwell and leg-spinner Adil Rashid would be competing for the spinner's spot in the team.

There is also be a measure of concern about the fitness of England fast bowler James Anderson.