Graeme Smith vows to salvage pride by winning 2nd Test against Pakistan

South Africa have never lost a series away from home since 2006 when they were defeated by Sri Lanka © AFP

Dubai: Oct 23, 2013

South African captain Graeme Smith vowed his team will look to keep their pride and an unbeaten seven-year away record by winning the second Test against Pakistan starting on Wednesday.

Smith’s men have not lost an away series since losing in Sri Lanka in 2006 on their way to becoming the world’s top team in the Test rankings.

But that pride and record will be at stake as they seek to level the two-match series after losing the first Test by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi last week.

Their task get sterner as key players Hashim Amla and Dale Steynboth number one batsman and bowler respectively in Test rankings — will be missing in action.

Amla was ruled out as he failed to make it back in time after returning home for the birth of his second child, while Steyn is a serious doubt after suffering a hamstring injury.

Smith is hopeful his team will overcome the obstacles. “I think if we are going to maintain a standard over the next period of time we need to be able to meet those obstacles and hopefully the replaced players provide the performances that is needed to win the Test,” said Smith on Tuesday.

Smith said he looks forward to an improved showing. “I would love to see the graph going on an upward curve in this Test, from the batting perspective we need to be posting more solid totals and that is something we have prided ourselves on over a period of time,” said Smith.

South African batting folded for 249 and 232 in Abu Dhabi. Smith said he was confident of his team’s ability to level the series. “I think there is still confidence in our ability, we know we are a team that has won all around the world and we know we have the ability to win, it’s just about getting ourselves mentally and skillwise to that point,” said Smith, whose team has lost only one out of nine series against Pakistan, back in 2003.

“It was long time ago [lost series to Pakistan], I mean we have had a fair amount of success against Pakistan and I remember the last time winning a series [in Pakistan in 2007] it was a big turning point in our path as a Test team, we went from strength to strength,” said Smith.

“I think every time you lose you learn lessons, lessons about playing in the conditions and that helped us with the success that we have had away from home,” said Smith.

Meanwhile Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said he did not think that the absence of Amla and Steyn would give his team any benefit. “We don’t want to think about that, we are ready,” said Misbah. “We are just assuming that both are playing, so we are getting ready for that. Even if they are not playing they are still the top side in the world so we have to play well against them.”

Misbah asserted a series win was very important for his team after being routed 3-0 and losing a Test in Zimbabwe this year.

“I think every match is very important for the team, not only the series but every game is important, the more you win matches the more it will lift the morale of the team and you prove yourself in the world of cricket,” said Misbah.

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