Australia captain Ricky Ponting is paying little attention to the possibility of winning a record-equalling 16 Test matches in a row as his team prepare for the second Test against India in Sydney.
Having easily accounted for the Indians during the opening Test in Melbourne, Ponting's men are on track to equal the mark of consecutive Test victories set by a Steve Waugh-captained Australia side in 2001.
However, Ponting was wary of his players getting too far ahead of themselves.
"We're getting close to some great milestones around the team," Ponting said. "But you've got to win 600 contests a day before you win a day's play in a Test match and you've got to put five of those days together to win a Test.
"There's a lot of hard work goes into it and I just think the less we think about it [the record], the better. I mentioned it in a team meeting this morning just to get the guys a little bit excited about the fact and give them something to sort of process and get out of their heads today before tomorrow." n West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels is hoping his form in the first Test against South Africa will help cement his place in the side.
The 26-year-old was named man of the match after innings of 94 and 40 in the tourists' 128-run victory at St George's Park last week. And Samuels is eager to produce another good display when the second Test gets under way in Cape Town today.
"Test cricket is very difficult and I would love to get a chance to play more Test matches back-to-back instead of being in and then out of the side so often," Samuels said. "It will give me the chance of getting better scores more regularly and being more consistent."
Samuels has struggled during his West Indies career, with the right-hander having averaged only 27.30 from 24 Tests going into last week's first Test. Although disappointed not to score his second Test century in Port Elizabeth, Samuels is happy as long as the team obtain the right result. "I was very disappointed that I didn't get the century, but if I could score 94 and the West Indies go on to win every time, I'll be satisfied," he added.
"I had spoken to the groundsman at St George's during the Twenty20 match and he told me that not a lot of runs are scored there in first-class cricket. So I made up my mind to put my head down and get what I wanted."
Samuels also reserved special praise for the leadership of Windies captain Chris Gayle. "Whenever you have a good leader who motivates people and doesn't discourage them, that person, to me, is a true leader and will always get support," he said. "When Chris talks to you, it is in a way that you take the positive from it."
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes the heavy defeat in the opening Test was just a blip and remains confident his team will bounce back in Cape Town.
"We've won four Test series in a row," Arthur said. "We intend to win this one too. The bowling attack has led us to victory in the last four Tests we've played, and don't forget they bowled the West Indies out for 175 in the second innings."
Neil McKenzie has been drafted into the side in a bid to boost the batting line-up. He is expected to replace Herschelle Gibbs, who bagged a pair in the first Test. Veteran bowler Shaun Pollock is also expected to return. ..SUPL: