Cape Town: Graeme Smith's personal triumphs as a captain and the ruthlessness of top-ranked South Africa's fast bowlers threaten to again dominate the second Test against Pakistan at Newlands.
Smith will receive more accolades on Thursday when he leads his team out for the 100th time in a Test. He celebrated his 100th Test as a captain in South Africa's heavy 211-run victory in the series opener two weeks ago, having also skippered the World XI once.
This time it's 100 as South Africa captain and Smith said on Wednesday that was the milestone "that means the most".
Smith said his pacemen will be preying on the tourists' possible doubts after bowling them out for 49 in the first innings in Johannesburg, where South Africa won a fourth straight Test and put itself in position to claim a sixth straight series victory.
"They allowed us to bowl at them a little bit," Smith said of Pakistan's batting failures at the Wanderers. "We managed to control the run rate and that allowed us to attack them more. Hopefully there is that mindset of tentativeness and I think that'll play in our favour."
All 20 Pakistan wickets fell to South Africa's quicks in the first Test, with 15 of them caught behind the wicket to leave the Pakistan batsmen's techniques open to scrutiny.
"I guess any time you have that many caught behinds you have to have a look at how you're leaving the ball," Smith said.
Smith's decade-long spell in charge of South Africa's Test team will be recognized in his 100th Test as skipper at his home ground at Newlands, following straight on from the celebrations dedicated to the country's most successful captain in Johannesburg - his city of birth - at the beginning of the month.
"Representing South Africa 100 times as captain is the mark that means the most to me," Smith said. "Being a part of this team is something that's very important to myself and the rest of the guys, so to achieve a milestone in these colors is something that I will remember for a very long time."
For Pakistan, captain Misbah-ul-Haq has already conceded that it might be a steep learning curve for his team in the three-Test series against the world's best Test unit.
The visitors may turn to 2.16-meter (7-foot-1) fast bowler Mohammad Irfan for the second match in Cape Town, and Smith rated Pakistan as a team capable of dramatic improvement.
"We know that if there's one team that can really bounce back from a performance like that, it could be Pakistan," Smith said.
The captain also said there hadn't been any unusual training techniques for the home batsmen to prepare for the tallest bowler in international cricket. They hadn't had throw-downs from someone standing on a box, he said.
"It's going to be a unique experience, I think," opener Smith said of the possibility of facing Irfan. "It's always difficult to re-enact those things. It's just out in the middle that we'll have to face that challenge."
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