Australia in SA
Smith: We displayed character
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Port Elizabeth - In the wake of a stunning final day comeback, Proteas captain Graeme Smith says it was the character of his side which carried them through to a 231-run victory in the second Test on Sunday.
Australia were coasting along at 126 without loss on Day 4, before the Proteas claimed 10 wickets for 90 runs at St George's Park to level the series at 1-1.
"We were positive in what we did, we didn't just go through the motions," said Smith about Australia's aggressive start in their chase of 448 for victory.
"Australia started positively with the bat. Composure and character was something that we needed.
"We showed an immense amount of that, and once we got the ball reverse swinging, we were in the game."
The Proteas had fallen to a similar margin of defeat - by 281 runs - in the first Test in Centurion last week, and Smith had said afterwards he was disappointed by the lack of intensity his players had shown. On this occasion, Smith was pleased with his troops.
"That's sport. It was a tough week building up for us.
"I don't think many teams would have been able to respond from the defeat we had in Pretoria.
"I've seen some terrific victories from this team and nine wickets in a session was really something special."
The Proteas were able to draw on good memories to get over the line said the captain.
"That's when you draw on the years of experience," said Smith.
"You come up with ideas that would work. Introducing the part-time spinner really worked in helping us to get the ball to reverse swing.
"The intensity we showed was impressive on a wicket that probably didn't offer that much."
Dale Steyn produced a devastating spell with three wickets in four overs, and was the catalyst for the South African victory.
Smith said he knew Steyn was always capable of producing match-winning spells.
"His anger goes from very angry to extremely angry when he's bowling.
"We know that Dale is always one spell away from being able to create something for us. There are high expectations on him. If he is not getting five-fors, or knocking people over, or knocking people's heads in, then people start to ask questions.
"When the game is on the line he can respond like that."