Proteas in England
Surreal moment for Smith
Graeme Smith (Getty Images)
London - Proteas captain Graeme Smith
became the seventh batsman in the history of the game to score a century in his 100th Test match as the Proteas took command of the first Test at The Oval on Saturday. WIN: A limited edition signed Graeme Smith bat
Smith true to his character, displayed the tenacity and courage throughout his innings on a testing wicket, and described the emotions around the achievement as surreal.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Smith said about the hundred, which is also his seventh against England. “It was surreal at the time, there were a lot of thoughts and emotions that went through my head when I reached the hundred but at the back of my head I knew that there was still a job to be done.
Smith joins Colin Cowdrey and Alec Stewart of England, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Javed Miandad of Pakistan, Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies and Australia’s Ricky Ponting on this prestigious list.
He was equally full of praise for fellow batsman, Hashim Amla
, who is unbeaten on 183. Smith and Amla broke the record for the second wicket partnership for South Africa against England, when they patiently and sometimes charismatically, built up a solid foundation of 259 runs for South Africa.
“He (Amla) doesn’t complicate it too much, he plays really well within his strengths and scores freely all round the wicket. To sit on the other end and watch some of his timing is quite incredible.
“He obviously has great ability but with that he has terrific mental strength and the calmness that adds to that, we all know that he has a big hunger to be successful and to do well so he’s a nice guy to have in your team.”
Amla (183 not out) and Jacques Kallis
(82 not out) will resume the Proteas’ innings on 403 for two on Day 4 with a lead of 18 runs, and will both be looking to close in on important milestones.
The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula
, also congratulated Smith and the Proteas on their achievements for the day and said: “Today was magnificent, for me the story that we are telling about this team is about the journey of a formidable team and South Africans showing that they can rise to the occasion. The challenge is not easy, England are a strong team but the team under the leadership of Graeme Smith
have done well to represent our country, they are making us proud far away from home.”