Smith hoping to kick the Proteas while they are down

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Australia skipper Steve Smith is hopeful that his team can make the most of what he perceives to be a demoralized Proteas team.

Smith has been keeping an eye on the ODI series between South Africa and India and feels that the 5-1 loss to Virat Kohli’s men may have dented the number two ranked Test team’s confidence.

Speaking from the team hotel in Sandton Smith said: “I’ve been watching bits and pieces of it [South Africa v India]. Been watching bits of the one-dayers the last couple of days as well.

“They probably haven’t been at their best, the South Africans, and the Indians have played really well.

“For us, they might be a little low leading into the Test series and it’s important to try to keep their confidence down and start really well in the first Test match in Durban.”

Smith is out for revenge after the Test series defeat inflicted upon his team by Faf du Plessis’ men in 2016.

He went on: “Coming to South Africa, it’s probably the most similar conditions you get to Australia or probably any conditions in the world for two countries. This is going to be a good challenge for this group to hopefully keep that record up.

“We got beaten by South Africa at home a year ago, and that was a bit of a low point for Australian cricket. So it would be great if we could turn the tides here.”

Smith is looking forward to a series that might well shape up to be a battle of the quicks, with both sides possessing impressive pace bowlers.

He said: “Good fast bowling on both sides, it’s going to be a challenge for the batsmen and hard work at times, too. But I’m really looking forward to it.

“There could be some good short pitch bowling in this series.”