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Cricket-Kallis, Warne seek improved form

Written by: Staff

DURBAN, South Africa, Mar 23: South Africa will be desperate to rediscover their form in the second test against Australia this week, with the duel between Jacques Kallis and Shane Warne seen as key contest to the result.

Both men endured mediocre performances in Australia's seven-wicket victory within three days in Cape Town last week and the Durban test, starting tomorrow, offers the pair a chance to stamp their authority on the three-match series.

All rounder Kallis is regarded as the lynchpin of South Africa's batting order but he only managed scores of six and 36 in the first test, dismissed on both occasions following sloppy cut shots.

Australia's world record wicket-taker Warne would have been equally as disappointed with his return at Newlands, where the leg spinner's 27.5 overs returned a match analysis of 3-118.

''I wasn't that happy with the way I bowled, I struggled for rhythm, I even bowled a few no-balls and things like that,'' Warne told reporters.

Kallis's dismissals could be partially due to South Africa's stated commitment of taking a more aggressive approach at the crease after the tactic worked in the one-day series triumph.

The normally-conservative Kallis, however, said he was unperturbed by perennial criticism against his slow scoring rate, and hinted that he may revert to type.

''It's never got to me and I've kind of laughed it off,'' Kallis told reporters.

''That's been the role I've had to play in the team.

''In one-day cricket your role differs a lot more, but in test cricket I've worked out what works for me.

''When there are times to dominate, I'll try and dominate.

''Other than that, I'll try and do what I've done over the past few years to be successful.

''I'm not going to change my gameplan too much.

''It's been successful and I still see myself playing the same role.''

INCONSISTENT BOUNCE The pitch in Cape Town assisted seam bowlers throughout the match, in which debutant Stuart Clark returned figures of 9-89. Durban traditionally offers swing and movement off the seam on the first day, before flattening into a batsman's pitch until midway through the fourth day.

Inconsistent bounce begins to intrude at that stage and accurate bowlers become a greater threat.

''It's a difficult place to get in, it takes a few extra balls because of the bounce,'' Kallis said.

''But once you do that it's a beautiful place to bat, the ball comes onto the bat nicely and the bounce is even.'' Warne, who unlike Kallis had inspected the pitch being prepared for the match, offered a differing view.

''It's obviously got a lot of thick green grass on it but it's a little bit hard,'' Warne said.

''It looks like a typical Durban sort of pitch, which is going to swing around.

''Looks like the seamers are going to play a big part again like they did in the first test.'' The likely conditions in Durban should mean Warne will be Australia's only spinner in what could be an unchanged team.

The South Africans are expecting all rounder Shaun Pollock, who missed the first test with a muscle strain, to play on his home ground in conditions that should suit his game.

Batsman Boeta Dippenaar has been retained in the squad after earlier reports he had been released.

''The next two days are quite critical for him, but I think he'll be fine,'' Kallis said.

If Pollock is declared fit, he is likely to replace all rounder Andrew Hall.

Kallis said South Africa remained bullish, despite their setback in the first test.

''The gap between Australia and us has narrowed from four years ago (when Australia won five of the six tests the team contested),'' Kallis said.

''We believe we can go out and beat these guys.

''We need to win the next two test matches and in all honesty, we feel we can do it.''


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