South Africa's top-six among the best, says Smith

CAPE TOWN Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:40pm IST

South Africa's Graeme Smith reacts after catching a ball during a training session their first one-day international cricket match against England at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales August 23, 2012. REUTERS/Philip Brown/Files

South Africa's Graeme Smith reacts after catching a ball during a training session their first one-day international cricket match against England at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales August 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Philip Brown/Files

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Skipper Graeme Smith believes South Africa have possibly the best top-six among contemporary batting line-ups as they prepare to face Pakistan in the second test at Newlands starting on Thursday.

The Proteas crushed Pakistan by 211 runs in the first test at the Wanderers, a win built on the ferocious performance of the team's bowling unit spearheaded by Dale Steyn.

Smith also praised the batsmen as he seeks his fifth win in a row as captain.

"Our top six is one of the best going around with our experience and the ability to adapt to game situations," Smith said.

"We understand how to handle conditions and what is the right play at the right time.

"Test matches are about patterns of play and top three especially has done well in setting up a base for the rest. The new ball is a tough place to bat in South Africa, but we have often come through that and been able to lay a solid platform."

Smith expected Pakistan to adopt a more cautious approach to their batting in second test in contrast to their cavalier approach at the Wanderers.

"Pakistan are in a dangerous position as a team, they are a team...used to having two vastly different performances," Smith says.

"We cannot underestimate them, especially with the ball. If there is one team who can bounce back it is Pakistan."

The tourists are likely to bring in seam bowler Mohammad Irfan after his fine performances in a warm-up fixture against an Emerging Cape Cobras side in which he took seven wickets for 40 runs in the match. At over seven feet tall, he will present a new challenge.

"It will be a unique experience," Smith said with a smile.

The captain also downplayed the relevance of the toss on Thursday, suggesting in South African conditions it was often of little consequence.

"In South Africa it is unusual to arrive at a ground and think it is a batting day or vice-versa. We probably prefer to get out there and bat to post a strong total but that being said we will look at the pitch in the morning and make a decision from there."

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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