JACQUES KALLIS insists South Africa are a better team than England – and will aim to prove just that when the decisive fourth Test gets underway at The Wanderers on Thursday.
Kallis picked out Graeme Swann and Paul Collingwood as the two thorns in South Africa’s side, but though his side are 1-0 down heading into the final Test of the four-match series, he said: “We feel we’ve dominated the series but we’re somehow still behind.
“But that’s in the past, we’ve got to look into the future. We’ve got to go out and win this Test match. The guys have discussed it, we have to move on now. There will be no favours given in this series.
“We like to believe we are the better team. We’ve got to believe it. There was a two day period where we didn’t play the better cricket and we lost it in Durban.
“But we’ve still got a lot of belief. I’ve had a look at the wicket, I’ve seen greener here. It’s not as bad as people think. You’re going to need a bit of skill to get through it. Our guys are used to pitches with bounce more than England are.
“Hopefully the luck will go our way this time. It’s been going England’s way so far.”
When I asked if relations between the two sides were cordial after allegations of ball tampering during last Test in Cape Town, Kallis said: “That was the only issue we really had. Nobody is holding any grudges. There have been no major blow ups in the field. It’s been in played in a good spirit.
“Obviously KP is a key player for England but they’ve done well without him playing well. We’ve had a few plans that have obviously worked. But he might be due something in the next couple of Tests. I hope it’s not this one.
“Our guys do rate him. We’ve done well to keep him quiet. But we know he’s a quality player, you don’t lose that overnight.
Kallis, the top run scorer in the series so far and the best all-rounder in the world, said: “From my point of view I’m not going to change anything I do. I dont’ feel any more pressure.
“It’s a challenge, it’s no often you play on Test wickets that do a lot. Our pitches are more lively than any in the world.
“England haven’t given up. Two games when they were totally out of it, they managed to stay there. We were in England’s situation in Durban and we crumbled.We were in the mire in Durban and we failed.
“The danger is you finish a Test match on top like we did in Cape Town and we have to guard against remembering that. Just because we dominated the last Test match doesn’t mean we’ll be on top here.
“There is a bit of weather around, the wicket does need to be a little bit greener. We need a result wicket with a bit of grass on it. But it’s dangerous going into a Test match without a spinner.
“This almost becomes a one-off Test match. Swannie’s had a good series, Colly’s been key for them. Those guys have been a thorn in our side so far this series.
“Collingwood? To get the balance in your side you need a KP but you need a Colly. He’s shown what a quality player he is. Certainly, at times, not the prettiest player in the world. But you’d take the ugly guys, the kind of gutsy guys who fight in tough situations.
“Obviously, we need to play all the cricket here. There will be pressure on us. We have to be more positive. It’s a gamble we have to take.