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Smith hoping SA reach 'next level'

Such is the hectic nature of this 2012 summer that England are still concentrating on their ODI series against Australia, which has got off to an excellent start after victory at Lord's in the opening match.

But with their number one Test status set to be examined by South Africa - who spent four months as the top side in 2009 - attentions are set to turn to Graeme Smith's side soon.

"I don't think we need much more motivation to beat England," said Smith, before his 15-man Test squad set off for a three Test, five ODI and three T20 trip.

"We've come close to the top of the rankings for a period of time. We're hoping this will be the year that we can take ourselves to the next level."

The series kicks off at The Oval on Thursday 19 July and concludes at Lord's on Thursday 16 August, with a match at Headingley in between.

The series has a number of mouthwatering match-ups in prospect, with James Anderson and Dale Steyn leading the two most impressive fast-bowling attacks in the Test arena.

Smith offered some praise for the England team the Proteas are set to face, as they look to record their second consecutive away series win over the hosts since their readmission to international cricket in 1992.

"They've proven over time that they are a methodical, well-drilled team," added the 31-year-old veteran, who will play his 100th Test at the Oval.

"They'll be battle hardened. They play the game hard and no-one wants to give an inch."

South Africa Test squad:
Graeme Smith (capt)
A B de Villiers (vice-captain)
Hashim Amla
Mark Boucher
Marchant de Lange
Jean-Paul Duminy
Imran Tahir
Jacques Kallis
Morne Morkel
Alviro Pietersen
Robin Peterson
Vernon Philander
Jacques Rudolph
Dale Steyn
Lonwabo Tsotsobe

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