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Smith to target Sehwag in the second test

Ahmedabad, April 2: The South Africans continued to play mind games with their skipper Graeme Smith today saying they have worked out a few plans to contain Indian opener Virender Sehwag in the second Test which would get underway at the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera, here tomorrow.

Yesterday South African coach Micky Arthur had pointed out some perceived chinks in Sehwag's armour and said the Indian opener was susceptible to short-pitched balls directed at his body.''As a team it's important to come up with a game plan. We have the option to bowl short to him (Sehwag). We have worked out a few things to contain Sehwag. Hopefully, we can execute them well over the next five days,'' said Smith on the eve of the match.

The visiting team's coach had also praised the Delhi marauder, who played his first pull shot after completing his second career triple ton to join Don Bradman and Brian Lara.

''We had a look at Sehwag's fantastic innings. We saw that he played his first pull shot after scoring 312. He cuts the ball very well. We plan to target him with short balls into his body and cramp him for space and see how he takes it,'' Arthur had said.

Smith insisted the team was confident to do well here on a wicket, which he described, ''looks to be a good one with some grass covering on it.'' ''We will probably go in with the same team and play only one spinner. We have prepared well and are confident. It's all about us executing our plans right,'' he added.

''After the last game, India have a few more things to think about than us,'' Smith said referring to the absence of the injured Sachin Tendulkar and the fitness concerns over Indian captain Anil Kumble and Ishant Sharma (recovering from toe and finger injuries).

Smith said if Kumble, who is struggling with a groin strain sustained in Chennai, failed to pass the fitness test on the morrow, India will not only lose the services of their captain but also a very fierce competitor.

''He's a very experienced campaigner and a fierce competitor and also their captain,'' Smith pointed out.

Smith also said that Yuvraj Singh, the likely replacement for Tendulkar in the middle order, is s a 'good stroke-player', but added that the left-handed stylist would be under pressure and it was up to the South Africans to exploit it.

''Yuvraj is a good stroke player. But the pressure (of filling in for a batsman of Tendulkar's caliber) will be there. It's up to him to cope up. We will try and keep it (pressure) up,'' he said.

On the wicket, Smith hoped that they will help in the ball reverse-swinging here unlike in Chennai.

''In Chennai, the ball went soft quickly. There was no reverse swing and not much swing available with the new ball. If it does not swing here we have planned for other things here,'' he said.

Smith also spoke about the experience his senior most pace bowler Makhaya Ntini brings to the team. ''Makhaya's experience is crucial for us and it is also important for him to lead by example and he knows that and is doing a fantastic job, Smith stated.

Speaking about his opening batsman Neil McKenzie, the South African skipper said it was just great for Neil to come back the way he has done and now it is upto him to keep up the good work and carry the confidence forward to become a consistent player.


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Story first published: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 17:54 [IST]
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