Castle Lager Proteas all-rounder, Ryan McLaren, spoke to the media at stumps of day one of the first Sunfoil Test against Australia at SuperSport Park on Wednesday. McLaren says the first hour with the new-ball on Thursday will be crucial, as the Proteas look to claw their way back into favour in the match with the visitors at 297/4 at the close of play.
" Our focus is going to be to try and build as much pressure as possible tomorrow," he said. " We need to try and take wickets and we know they still have some dangerous batsmen in Haddin and Johnson. If we can get a few wickets upfront tomorrow morning we will be in with a sniff. I think it will be a case of stepping up tomorrow when we have that first hour and to try and build as much pressure as we can.
" I think this team has showed its character in the past to come back fighting the following day and I have no doubt that the boys will respond positively tomorrow morning," he added.
McLaren defended the Proteas' decision to bat first, and said: " It was moving around a little bit in the beginning, it was slowish off the wicket. Assessing the first hour I thought we bowled well. Having them 90 for four we had a real opportunity to make some inroads.
" Shaun Marsh and Steve Smith played really well," he continued. " It was pretty much a chance-less partnership and the ball got really soft and the wicket played a lot slower and better as the day went on. I thought that we had our opportunities but credit to them, they really batted really well."
McLaren's inclusion in the Test XI marked the new era without Jacques Kallis, a new role he is looking to make his own, without any comparison to the great cricketer.
" As far as my own position in the team is concerned, I was given the task of performing the role of bowling first or second change and playing a huge role to play at No7, I see it as that," he explained. " There is no indication of how many Test matches I will play but I will try and make use of the opportunity as best as I can."