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
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
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.”