Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith

South Africa captain Graeme Smith hopes leg-spinner Imran Tahir makes the most of his opportunity after being called up to face Australia in the second Test in Adelaide.

Tahir replaces paceman Rory Kleinveldt in the XI as the visitors seek to exploit the spin-friendly conditions at Adelaide Oval.

Uncapped batsman Faf du Plessis has also earned a spot in the team as a replacement for JP Duminy, who injured his Achilles in a warm-down after the first day's play in the first Test in Brisbane.

Smith said Tahir, who has 26 wickets at an average of 40.19 at Test level, could find the pitch to his liking when the match starts on Thursday.

"I think all of us in the team would love to see him pick up a huge wicket haul," Smith said.

"Not every surface we've played on has offered him the world but he's contributed in key ways for us over the last few Test matches and his role is important."

Smith suggested Tahir could wreak havoc on Australia's top-order, given five of the hosts' seven batsmen are left-handers.

Tahir's wrong-un, in particular, turns sharply away from left-handers and may well be vital in conjunction with any rough patches on the Adelaide Oval wicket, according to Smith.

"Hopefully there is a lot of rough, not for me, but for the Australian left-handers," Smith quipped.

"Imran certainly has used the rough well in the times he has played for us.

"He created a lot of stress for (Andrew) Strauss and the left-handers in England so the wrong-un turning away from the bat is not a bad option."

Along with Tahir, du Plessis is also a part-time turner of the ball.

Smith said the Test rookie may play a greater role as a bowler and was looking forward to his debut.

"I think he (du Plessis) is probably in the same mould of bowling as JP. He certainly can play a role (with the ball)," Smith said.

"Obviously picking Imran he will front up for the majority as the spin option but having Faf available does allow you someone else in the group who can contribute.

"The fact he is making his debut is exciting, it's a wonderful opportunity for Faf and I think he's played at a really high standard the last few years.

"He's played a role in the one-day and Twenty20 formats and I know he's really excited to get the opportunity to play Test cricket.

"He's been around this group now solidly since England and been a part of some special times, so I think he's looking forward to hopefully making a mark on this team."


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