The Castle Lager Proteas' ability to thrive under pressure will be an important trump card in the upcoming Sunfoil Test series against Australia starting at SuperSport Park on Wednesday. The Proteas' resilience in adversity has been one of their game-changing characteristics during their reign at the top of the ICC Test standings, and could be the difference between the two evenly matched sides.
"From my perspective i feel that we are well prepared, have trained hard and are well planned," captain, Graeme Smith said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. "It’s always going to come down to the cricket and how well you execute your skills.
"In a series like this, it’s going to be intense and there are going to be moments of pressure. 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," he added. "I'd like to see us continue that in the next three Tests."
The skipper has been encouraged by the intensity at training this week, as well as the high standard of the work ethic during the squad's lengthy preparation period.
The absences of Jacques Kallis will become a reality tomorrow morning and Smith feels that, although it will be a change, the team has had time to adapt to life without the all-rounder. The management will make a call on the final XI overnight, with various options still on the discussion table.
Hot temperatures have been forecast for the week and Smith indicated that the heat could assist the batsmen on a traditionally seam friendly surface. The conditions have been a talking point throughout the build-up, and he insists his players will be able to adapt to what is served up on the day.
"No matter what happens at the toss you have to do it well," Smith remarked. "As a team we have felt that we have enough bases covered so that no matter what, we have the ability to front up and put in performances. I don’t think we fear the toss as much as we did a few years ago, we have felt that we have enough bases covered to perform."