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Pitch is a worry for Graeme

Durban: South Africa captain Graeme Smith on Tuesday said that his team will step on the field for the Boxing Day Test against India with an aim to set right their poor record here.

The Proteas missed a chance to go 1-0 up in the series, as they could manage only a draw in the first Test at Johannesburg, closing shutters when they needed only eight runs to win, chasing a mammoth 458.

“From an emotional perspective, it’s been an interesting few days. As a team, perspective and putting things into context are always important, and so is understanding what needs to be done. I feel we’re mentally ready. Hopefully, the intensity will remain high and we’ll be ready for Boxing Day,” said Smith.

South Africa last won a Test at Durban way back in 2008, beating the West Indies. Since then, they have lost here to Australia, England, India and Sri Lanka.

It is the first thing in a list which must be bothering Smith, besides the Kingsmead pitch.

“One of the reasons for our poor record is the pitch. It’s a surface that can change every day. Statistics say that day two is more difficult to bat on than day one, pretty similar to Wanderers. But overhead conditions and weather can play a big role here.

“It can get hot, it can get flat and then there are times it can do a bit. It’s just about reading those moments of the game well and making sure you can be effective,” he explained.