11 October 2013
Proteas captain Graeme Smith declared himself satisfied with his side’s preparations on Thursday after they drew their three-day warmup match against Pakistan A in Sharjah ahead of the first test against Pakistan, starting in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
As is the way with most tour warm-up matches, the tourists used the contest to get in some batting practice.
They posted 354 for 8 declared in their first innings, to which Pakistan A replied with 311 for 6 declared. The Proteas then posted 109 for 3 in their second innings, as members of the lower order were given a chance in the middle.
JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis opened the batting to practice against the new ball, although both batsmen are more likely to face the second new ball because of their roles lower down the order.
Ironically, Smith was the only top order batsman to fail, making two on his return to the national team after six months out of the game as a result of an ankle injury that required surgery.
He chose not to bat in the second innings, even though he hadn’t spent much time at the crease. Smith explained that it was a precautionary decision and said he is confident he will be prepared for the first test.
“It’s a management process more than anything,” he explained at a press conference after the match.
“I had major surgery five months ago and my workload over the last five days has stepped up, so I’m following the programme that is in place to make sure I can get on to the field on Monday.”
Weather conditions, Smith said, also played an important role in the game. “We wanted to get used to the heat. I think we have done that,” he reckoned.
“Bar the three days we have had here, we have had two tough training sessions and a lot of other fitness work in the heat. We are feeling a lot more settled in the heat than we were three days ago.”
Addressing South Africa’s performance against Pakistan A, he said: “If you have followed the team for the last period of time you will know that warm-up games are process driven. It’s more about getting the workload under our belt rather than pushing the intensity to win games.”
The Proteas travel to Abu Dhabi on Friday and will wrap up their preparations for the first test on the weekend.
South Africa goes into the three-test series having last lost a series away from home in 2006. Since that series in Sri Lanka, the Proteas have played 28 tests on foreign soil, winning 15 of them and losing only four times, with nine draws.
SAinfo reporter and Cricket South Africa