the underdogs, claims new South Africa skipper
South Africa captain Ashwell Prince admits his inexperienced squad, missing
three senior players including first-choice skipper Graeme Smith, start
their test series against Sri Lanka as the underdogs.
"We are coming here
without three of our regulars -- Smith, Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock -
so considering this and the fact we are playing away from home makes us the
underdogs in the series," Prince told reporters on his team's arrival.
"They have been
enjoying a good time. Mahela (Jayawardene) has been doing well as captain
and as a batsman, Sangakkara (Kumar) has been among the runs and Sanath
Jayasuriya has done well on his return.
"Sri Lanka will have
the edge. But we are determined to face the challenge," he added.
Prince, the first
coloured player to captain South Africa, also pinpointed spinner Muttiah
Muralitharan as the major threat during a two-match series that starts on
July 27 at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
superb form against England in June, has taken 82 wickets in 13 tests
against South Africa at an average of 23.34. His record at home is even
better with 47 wickets from seven games.
"Our main worry will
be Murali," said Prince. "We've got a lot of footage and we will be
analysing how best to combat him."
Smith and Kallis both
miss the tour because of injuries while Pollock has stayed home to be with
his pregnant wife. South Africa hope he will be able to rejoin the team for
the second test starting Aug. 4.
In the meantime,
Prince backed his players to give Sri Lanka a good fight.
"The critics say that
experience counts a lot and one of our replacements, Jacques Rudolph, was
actually the only batsman to score a test century the last time we toured
here," said Prince.
"The other guy coming
back is Herschelle Gibbs so both have the experience to perform."