Cape Town:South Africa will be going all out to break the "hoodoo trend" of series results against Australia this summer when they face the same opposition in the third One-Day International at Newlands here on Thursday.
The teams are 1-1 in the current five-match One-Day International series. However, the series results from the Test matches and Twenty20 meetings in Australia in December and January have been neatly reversed in the corresponding series on South African soil.
South Africa won the ODI series in Australia 4-1, and now Proteas captain Graeme Smith wants to get a win under his belt on Thursday to prevent Ricky Ponting's side from inflicting a similar result on the hosts.
"Hopefully we won't lose three in a row," Smith said on Wednesday, adding his side had built up a bank of consistently good results over a long, taxing period stretching back to Pakistan in September 2007.
"Hopefully we can change the hoodoo (jinx)."
Smith will also be hoping his bad luck with the toss ends. Seven times this summer he and counterpart Ponting have gone out, and each time Ponting has won the toss.
Smith said his team just wanted to play the type of cricket that earned them a clinical victory against Australia in Pretoria on Sunday.
"It's a new game, so we have to start again. But we have taken a bit of confidence out of Sunday's win." South Africa are well aware that they could be on the receiving end of a backlash from an Australian side stung by the big defeat three days ago. The Proteas themselves were in a similar position after losing the first match in the series in Durban five days ago by 141 runs, and SA coach Mickey Arthur expects the opposition to come back hard.
On team selection, South Africa would probably want to go into Thursday's game with the same XI that beat Australia by seven wickets at Centurion.
Smith suggested they would add a seamer, making a group of 12, and then decide Thursday whether to include that bowler or retain the spinner.
"It can be a touch slow at Newlands at this time of year, but the spinning option is still there," Smith said.
Nineteen-year-old swing bowler Wayne Parnell is certain to retain the new ball whichever combination takes the field. "If it does swing, we want to give Wayne the opportunity to swing it," Smith said.
Parnell, in only his second one-dayer, won the man-of-the-match award on Sunday when his haul of 4-25 helped consign Australia to defeat.
Smith said it would be interesting to see if Australia kept the same combination for Thursday's game.
"They have been playing the extra bowler, it will be interesting to see if they play the extra batter here," Smith said.
"The balance of their team is key. If they keep the same team, and we can make early inroads into the top three, it will put their middle-order under pressure.
"The new ball will do a little bit (at Newlands), so we need to be aware of that. But this is a ground we've batted well on. Hopefully that bodes well for the whole team," Smith said.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Herschelle Gibbs, A.B de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, J.P. Duminy, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Roelof van der Merwe, Mark Boucher, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell.
Australia: Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Marcus North, James Hopes, Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Brett Geeves, Nathan Bracken, Ben Laughlin.