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Smith backs Kleinveldt to shine

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By Nick Said

Johannesburg – Graeme Smith is confident Rory Kleinveldt will show South Africa's strength in depth when they take on Pakistan in the third and final Test at Centurion starting on Friday.

Kleinveldt comes into the side for the injured Morne Morkel, the only change for South Africa as they chase a series whitewash.

It will be a fourth Test cap for the 29-year-old, who has previously filled in for the injured Vernon Philander in two Tests in Australia in November and one at home against New Zealand last month.

He has taken eight wickets in those three outings at an average of above 40, but Smith said he showed enough to suggest he belonged at this level, especially after taking three for 65 in the second innings against Australia in Adelaide.

“Adelaide was a big step up for Rory, the way he bounced back after a difficult debut,” Smith told reporters. “That has given him a lot of confidence and I can see the way he has grown in training. Hopefully that confidence will go into his performance over the next five days.”

Remarkably for a player that has featured in 82 first class matches, this will be Kleinveldt's first at one of South Africa's premier venues.

“There is generally a bit more swing on the Highveld, which will suit Rory, and there is good pace and bounce at Centurion. His energy at training has been good and he has bowled well in the nets,” said Smith.

Smith denied his side would let their intensity drop with the series already won, suggesting they wanted to strike a psychological blow ahead of a series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi later this year.

“It's our last test of what has been a long but successful year,” Smith said. “There has been no difference in the way we have approached the game. It has been a quick turnaround, so to stay mentally fresh and sharp in the game will be the challenge.

“We are a process driven team and we attack each challenges the same each time.”

South Africa won the first Test at the Wanderers by 211 runs and the second at Newlands by four wickets. – Reuters

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