8 Dec 2008

Richards gives South Africa hope

6:38 am on 8 December 2008

South African batting great Barry Richards says the current skipper Graeme Smith has learnt the lessons of past mistakes against Australia and will be a more "formidable" leader in the upcoming series.

Smith's side arrived in Perth yesterday keen to prepare for the first Test starting on December 17, with coach Mickey Arthur saying his senior players are driven by the opportunity to make amends for previous defeats against the world champions.

Smith averages 49.95 in 72 tests but just over 22 in eight outings against Australia and faiiled to score even a half-century two years ago.

South Africa haven't won a Test series against Australia since 1969-70 and in four times tours in the post-apartheid era have won only one Test, in Sydney in 1993-94.

But but Richards, who played in the 1969-70 series, says the second-ranked Proteas have a good chance of claiming just their third series victory over Australia.

He says they have very experienced top order and a quite a fearsome pace attack.