Graeme Smith seeks fresh start

South Africa captain Graeme Smith expressed confidence on Thursday that his team can make a fresh start after its unbeaten streak was broken during the ongoing series against India.

South Africa finished one short of Australia’s world-record sequence of 21 games without a defeat last week when it lost by six wickets to India in the second one-dayer of the five-match series.

South Africa’s 20-match unbeaten spree contained 17 victories, one tied match and two games that were abandoned without producing a result.

Smith’s team defeated India by five wickets in the series opener at Hyderabad, but lost the second game at Bangalore.

The two teams are tied 1-1 going into Friday’s fourth one-dayer at Calcutta’s Eden Gardens after the third match of the series was washed out on Tuesday by heavy showers in the southern city of Madras.

“It will be a fresh start for us tomorrow [Friday],” Smith told reporters after South Africa’s practice session on Thursday.

“Calcutta is a special place to us, it was here that we returned to international cricket after a long absence,” he said.

Banished from world cricket for its apartheid policy, South Africa played its first one-day international at Calcutta in 1991 when the International Cricket Council lifted the suspension.

“With the series level at 1-1, we’re now looking for two finals,” said Smith.

“We’ve come to India to prepare a new side with the 2007 World Cup in view,” he said.

Indian captain Rahul Dravid said evening dew will play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the day-night contest.

“This is a crucial game and the toss will play a big role as the dew factor comes into play out here,” Dravid said.

India’s star batsman Sachin Tendulkar is set to create a new world record by playing in his 357th limited-overs internationals.

Tendulkar currently shares the mark with Pakistan’s former captain Wasim Akram, both having played in 356 one-dayers.

“It’s going to be a special occasion for him and all of us,” Dravid said. - Sapa-AP


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