Saturday, March 2, 2024

Aussies the underdogs: Smith before 1st Test

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PRETORIA: Australia are underdogs for the three-Test series in South Africa despite last month’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England, captain Graeme Smith said on Tuesday.

“If you’re the number one team in the world you have to be favourites,” Smith told a news conference on the eve of the first Test in Centurion. “It’s something we’ve become accustomed to and very comfortable with over a period of time. We’ve been number one in the world and travelled to some tough places to get it firstly and then to defend it.”

Smith said he was banking on his team to carry on performing at their best against Michael Clarke’s Australia.

“In a series like this it’s going to be intense and there are going to be moments of pressure,” said the opening batsman. Our breaking point as a team has extended over a long period of time. We have a great ability to handle pressure and to still perform at a high level.”

Clarke, whose side are ranked third in the world, said Smith’s outfit were deservedly top of the pile.

“It’s a great test for my team playing the number one team in their own backyard,” he added. “South Africa have through my career been as tough as any opposition.

“They’ve got a great mix of youth and experience and they’ve earned their position on top.” (Reuters)

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