Castle Lager Proteas Test captain, Graeme Smith, expressed his satisfaction with the preparation his squad received in the drawn three-day match against Pakistan "A" completed at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday. The lower-order used up most of the second innings' batting opportunity on the last day, as all the players made sure their processes were in check ahead of the first Test starting in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
"We wanted to get used to the heat, I think we have done that," Smith said at the press conference after the match. "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," he continued. "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."
JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis opened the batting to practise against the new-ball, with both batsmen more likely to face the second new ball because of their roles lower down the order. The rest of the "tail" also received valuable batting time against a probing Pakistan "A" attack.
Smith opted not to bat in the second innings, even though he didn't spend much time at the crease on Day one. He explained it as a precautionary decision and is confident he will be adequately prepared for the first Test.
" It’s a management process more than anything," he explained. "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."
The squad travels to Abu Dhabi on Friday morning and will begin wrapping up their preparations at the weekend.