Australia in SA

Smith hails Proteas character

2014-03-06 07:43
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Despite ending the match and the Test series against Australia in defeat, Graeme Smith lauded his side for their efforts.

"I think that's something we've become really good at it - never letting go," said Smith after his side lost the final test at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday, in his final game at the helm of the Proteas.

"We've certainly been outplayed in this Test match, but we still found a way to take it as deep as possible."

South Africa were 27 balls away from seeking out a draw in the third and final Test, and ending the series tied at 1-1, but fell to a 245 run defeat at the hands of the Australians.

Set an unlikely 511 to win, valiant efforts from AB de Villiers (43), Faf du Plessis (47), JP Duminy (43) and Vernon Philander (51 unbeaten) were not enough.

"The determination, skill and mental strength the guys showed today(Wednesday), with a lot of guys changing their natural gameplans, it would've been a wonderful fairytale if we had hung in there," said Smith.

"I saw enough qualities today(Wednesday), that showed the Proteas will be really strong for a period of time. The attitudes and strength of character is what this team is all about."

Smith, however, said his team had been thoroughly outplayed by Australia.

"Credit to Michael [Clarke] and his team. Any away series victory is a big box to tick," he said.

"They've deserved the series win, it was all set up for a great Test match.

"They've certainly outplayed us in this game. They won the toss on a good surface and we were always behind the game."

Smith himself underperformed in the series with just 45 runs in the three Tests, and said his team went all out just to be able to compete with the visitors.

"It's been a fighting series for us more than a well-played series," he said.

"The strength of character has allowed us to hang in as long as we did in this series, because I certainly think Australia played the better cricket throughout."

Australian captain Clarke said winning in South Africa was especially meaningful.

"No matter how we won today(Wednesday), it was going to be special if we won," said Clarke.

"South Africa are a fantastic team and they've always been exceptionally well led."

Clarke said the series win was comparable with his side's recent 5-0 demolishing of England in Australia which ended in January.

"An honest assumption would be that this victory was as good as The Ashes victory," he said.

"South Africa have always been the hardest team to beat."

One incident during the final few overs sparked fierce argument between the teams. Philander was given out by the onfield umpire Aleem Dar, but it was overturned by the decision review system.

After the decision was made, the Australian players surrounded the umpires. Dale Steyn and Clarke then had a heated exchange before the game resumed.

Clarke admitted he got carried away at the time.

"We're two extremely passionate teams. And there were a lot of words [exchanged] through the game," he said.

"If anybody was out of line, it was me."

Read more on:    proteas  |  ozinsa  |  graeme smith  |  cricket
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