Proteas in Australia

Smith lauds Proteas' character

2012-11-26 15:28
Graeme Smith (AFP)

Adelaide - Graeme Smith could barely put his emotions into words after the Proteas staged a remarkable fightback to draw the second Test match against Australia here on Monday.

The batsmen held out for 148 overs against a pumped up Australian attack in one of the most determined and resilient batting displays by the Proteas team.

“We had that little bit of hope this morning but at four down last night we knew that the writing was on the wall,” Smith said. 

Australia v South Africa 2nd Test Day 5 Highlights 

“Today I wanted to see the guys show a little bit of character. As the day goes on the emotions fuel and you become more tense as the guys out there put so much time and effort in.

“I think for me it was incredible to see the guys who represented us out there, the skill, determination and pride which they took in their performances. They represented us and a lot of people back home immensely, that was the most fulfilling thing from today.”

Man-of-the-match, Faf du Plessis, featured in two important partnerships with AB de Villiers (89 runs) and Jacques Kallis (99 runs) during his eight-hour marathon at the crease, which chipped away at the time and the Australian bowlers’ energy reserves.

“I just tried to keep my game plan simple, and made them bowl at me,” Du Plessis said.  “I tried to take it hour by hour. When I looked at it yesterday it was a long way away. AB (de Villiers) and Jacques (Kallis) really helped me a lot, I had a lot of questions for them and they kept me calm, especially in the nineties. I was going through a lot of emotions in the nineties, I had goosebumps for the longest time ever.”

 Eventually, it was up to Morné Morkel to fend off the final over, a task he passed with confident stroke play and temperament.

“Morné was a little bit nervous coming in, but Haydos as we call him played some serious straight drives at the end there. I just tried to keep him calm because I know it’s tough for a tail-ender coming in, especially knowing that if you get out you are carrying the hopes of a nation with you,” Du Plessis added.  

The short turnaround in Tests will be a physical challenge for both teams, especially after the long toil in the match and a few bruised bodies.

The WACA in Perth holds many special memories for the Proteas after the heroics in 2008, and Smith feels this time around the hunger for success will be no different.

“Both teams will be battered and bruised after this game. A lot of players have left a lot out there, there have been some great performances and not so good performances, but we are level pegged going into Perth and for us that is great,” Smith said.

 “We have five days left in this tour and an opportunity to create something special. That is what we were fighting for, we wanted to go to Perth after being in that position and give ourselves the chance of winning a series here in Australia again, and we have that opportunity.”    

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