SYDNEY: South African captain Graeme Smith said Monday he was taking strength from his team’s historic win on Australian soil four years ago as he prepares for the upcoming heavyweight contest.
The South Africans arrived in Sydney on Sunday aiming to consolidate their position as the world’s top Test team, which was earned mid-year with a series triumph in England.
“We understand that this is a big challenge for us, coming to Australia again and to win,” said Smith, who skippered the Proteas to a 2-1 win in 2008-09 — their first ever series victory in Australia.
The captain, who won the respect of Australian fans when he came out to bat in the third Test of that series with a broken finger and a painful elbow injury, said the Proteas had drawn strength from that success.
“To beat Australia in those stadiums and in those environments was something I don’t think South Africans had dreamt of in a very long time,” he told journalists.
“We certainly took a lot out of that. Probably took us a little bit of time for us to recover from those highs.
“But since that return leg from Australia, we’ve been pretty steady and consistent in our performances and maybe that was the stepping stone to a lot of the success that we’ve had.”
South Africa will play a three-day match against Australia A in Sydney starting Friday before the first Test in Brisbane on November 9. There are two further Tests.
“Obviously winning here four years ago certainly helps in the self-belief factor, knowing that you’ve overcome a hurdle before,” Smith said.
“Winning in someone else’s backyard, it’s a tough thing to do and that challenge is something that excites us.”
Coach Gary Kirsten said the Australian squad contained some “good experience and quality players”.
But he added: “We know if we get our processes right in those crucial times in the Test series, we’ll be a difficult team to beat.”