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Smith: Test cricket wins

2011-11-21 20:19

Johannesburg - While Proteas captain Graeme Smith was disappointed to lose the second Test against Australia, he said the climax to the series was a great advertisement for Test cricket.

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“It was a big thumbs-up for Test cricket,” said Smith after Australia pulled off a thrilling victory, by two wickets, to level the two-Test series at the Wanderers on Monday.

“Even though we lost, I hope this series will be seen in a positive light.

“Both teams gave 100 per cent - it was not always pretty and not always as skilful as we’d have liked, but it was a big positive for Test cricket going forward.”

Chasing a daunting 310 for victory, Australia achieved the highest successful run chase at the Wanderers after the match had been finely poised when they resumed the last day on 142 for three.

The weather intervened and play only got underway after lunch when Australia lost both of their overnight batsmen fairly early in the session.

Prior to their second innings, Ricky Ponting, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson were out of form and their Test places were in jeopardy, but it was those three experienced players who came to the party when they were most needed, to steer Australia to victory.

Smith said South Africa had failed to cash in at times when they were ahead in the match and paid credit to Australia’s bowling attack and their stalwart batsmen.

“We had our opportunities but the Aussies kept coming back at us and we have to give them credit for the way they bowled,” Smith said.

“When we needed to put the knife in, we didn’t but we bowled well in the first session today before they came out after tea and took the game away from us.”

Ponting contributed 62 runs and Haddin 55, who had shared two half-century partnerships, with Michael Hussey and later with Johnson, at a time when the match could still have gone either way.

“People still look back at the Australian team of old but this team doesn’t get enough credit,” Smith said.

“Their players under pressure all stepped up today.

“Playing against Ricky Ponting is always daunting and he is certainly the most competitive cricketer I have ever played against. He’s a credit to Australian cricket.”

While he may have only taken one wicket in each innings, Johnson’s contribution with the bat was invaluable. His unbeaten 40 at the end proved to be the difference between the sides during their intense battle towards the finish line.

The winning runs were hit by teenager Pat Cummins, who was named man-of-the-match for his five-wicket haul on debut.

At 18, his six for 79 earned him the accolade of being the youngest bowler on debut and the youngest Australian to take five or more wickets in an innings.

Vernon Philander with five for 70, was named man-of-the-series for his two five-wicket hauls in successive matches after making his Test debut at Newlands in the first Test.

South Africa have not won a Test series at home since they beat Bangladesh in 2008 and have not beaten Australia in South Africa since 1970.

“We may not have won the last few series but we haven’t lost either and we know there are certain facets of the game where we need to improve,” said Smith.

SAPA

Comments
  • Barry - 2011-11-21 20:34

    So what.? According to the former head of the ICC corruption unit, the ICC don't run cricket. The bookies do.

      Johan - 2011-11-21 20:42

      Really? Get over yourself. Everything doesn't involve conspiracies. You can't fake a great delivery. You can't fake a great batting performance. If your fickle brain believes everything, maybe you should join a cult. You know nothing of sports though, so enjoy the end of the world next year, idiot. Attention seeker...

      Barry - 2011-11-21 20:48

      @Johan. Yes really. I used to be on the edge of my seat watching cricket. But no more. That article from the former head of the ICC corruption unit says it all. Most if not ALL professional cricketers are on the take.

      Johan - 2011-11-21 21:29

      @Barry - Good calm reply, I must apologise for being rude. I hear what you are saying and can't disagree. Though I must say that I firmly believe that there was no match-fixing in this series. Of course bookies do still have their influence in world cricket. Their sphere of influence is just too big to be controlled. But, I have the belief, naive as it may be, that the Proteas and Australians are too proud to involve themselves with activities like that. That is why betting should stay in casinos.

      Dirk - 2011-11-22 06:12

      I think that SA could become stronger/better once the Freestate franchise( Knights) becomes eligible to play for SA again. I notice that their players, despite performances, are not considered. Is the Freestate part of SA ?

      Barry - 2011-11-22 18:45

      @Johan. You say that. South Africa have been in the past and so have Australia. Hansie ? Shane Warne ? Both of them have been proven to be on the take.

  • Gareth - 2011-11-21 20:42

    I don't wanna sound disrespectful to Kallis in any way,shape or form because the guy is immense and truly phenomenal for what he'd done for South African cricket,but is there a very strong reason why Gary and Allan Donald still keep him in our team.Kallis is 36 and good with the bat and in the slips but his not getting any younger and has slid back in taking game changing wickets for us,so why can't someone else step up the mark and take his position?Are we out of Kallis' type of calibre players left standing in South Africa that we don't have any geniune allrounders to call on? Australia is a team rebuilding and on Thursday or Friday this week the Australian selection committee helds it meeting in which either Ricky Ponting,Brad Haddin,Mitchell Johnson,Phil Hughes or Micheal Hussey will all to be dropped apparently for their the two-Test series against New Zealand to make way for good players from the Western Australian Cricket Association. So why can't South Africa rebuild a new team for the Sri Lanka series next month?Why can't we bring in Lonwabo Tsotsobe in place of Morne Morkel as we don't have a left arm pace bowler in the team and who knows he might do for us what Zaheer Khan did for India.And perhaps give Heino Kuhn a chance with the gloves insted of inconsistent with the bat Mark Boucher! Australia believed at one time that they were the only team with good players in it and were ruled by what was known as new professionalism.They will never be a hopeless team.

      bfvillet - 2011-11-21 21:00

      cant agree more we had them yet again could not finish it time to get rid of the dead wood. We cant stick the knife in when we need to.We dont want test cricket to win we want to win.I am tired of the constant excuses the chocker label just seems to come to mind most of the times we loose.If he is not good enough to get his men to ruthlesly play to their ability then maybe he needs to step down as leader.The south african people deserve better.

      Dean - 2011-11-21 21:11

      ??? Are we out of Kallis' type of calibre players left standing in South Africa You got to be kidding right? There are no "Kallis' type of calibre players" on the planet never mind South Africa.

      Johan - 2011-11-21 21:36

      Actually, I believe that the only reason we lost this series is because Kallis didn't perform (which is a good sign since we almost won both tests without him performing as usual). Sure he made a good 50 in the first innings of the second test, but we expect more from Kallis (and he probably also believes that he under performed). I'm sure that most bowlers feel that they have got THE big wicket when they get Kallis out. Kallis still has some fight in him, don't sell him short.

      Justin - 2011-11-22 08:30

      Dude, Kallis is a once in a century kind of cricketer - probably one of the best all rounders in the world, ever. You don't just breed these okes off the factory line. As a batsmen, he can probably continue to dominate bowlers into his mid forties, and if he so want's, nobody should stop him. With Philander suddenly providing us with an alternative 'allrounder' to play at 7, I rekon it's time for AB to take Bouchers gloves in all forms of the game, bring in another seamer (Tsosobe), and Kallis can then concentrate on his batting. If anything, his batting has adapted, and now plays at a far better strike rate, than he did in the past, so there is no real reason to drop him.

      Jared - 2011-11-22 22:01

      @tonysoprano, I agree with all the guys below (except bfvillet whom I will get to later). Players like Jacques Kallis simply don't grow on trees. Also, don't you think that if a Kallis-type player was identified by the selectors, then he would have been blooded by now? Our cricket coaches, believe it or not, do know what they're doing most of the time. As was said, form is temporary but class is eternal @bfvillet, judging by the ignorance in your comment its clear to me that you've never played cricket in your life. Sometimes games just happen to go the way they did in this test series. Its the nature of the beast. You give a quality team a sniff of victory and then you're on the backfoot. Credit to the boys for fighting back like they did at Newlands and in the 2nd innings at the Wanderers. Also, I'm not sure how you can blame Smith entirely for his team not performing. Success in cricket is dependent on a team of INDIVIDUALS performing, where a captain can only have so much influence

  • ajlouw79 - 2011-11-21 21:16

    If SA didnt throw away so many wickets in the 1st innings we would not have lost this test, so this is one we lost ... aus didnt win this, so again... we should take a look at how we played, so I dont really know how Graeme Smith can say test cricket won?

  • Thomas - 2011-11-21 21:23

    This is where I have a problem with Bacher and "these are the best combonation of coaches statement"!!! The last thing Gary and Allan need is this type of comparison at this stage of their carreer! This "ragtag" Aussie team leaves our shores as winners of this tour, and we still haven't beaten the Aussies on home soil since 1970!!!! OH and Ali tell us why Gary opted for only 2yrs instead of going to the next WC?????

  • Honest Raymond Makoi - 2011-11-21 21:47

    Lets be serious.... SA Should have won... They could have had made more runs.... When ever they are on a high they SELF implode..... Its just a shame that a team of sa calibre is beaten by the aussie nuts... They are a team in shambles and its about time sa learns to destroy them... Biff should tell his team to do better like clarke did when they were hammered... Sa has amongst the best bowlers in the world... Biff, amla, ab, morkel, steyn and then men mountain Kallis... They better wake up and sort themselves out!

  • Lodewyk - 2011-11-21 22:08

    Captain joker and his chokers.

      Riaan - 2011-11-22 10:06

      Ha ha ha! Couldn't have said it better

  • Bokfan - 2011-11-21 22:13

    ugh!!!!! I love test cricket but I hate the taste of softsoap. Farkit man you Proteas need a kick in the backside.

      Bokfan - 2011-11-21 22:15

      Except V Philander. He is a genuine BOK in the making.

      Bokfan - 2011-11-21 23:25

      Actually all the bowlers deserve Bok colours. Its the batsmen who screwed the pooch.

  • Julie - 2011-11-22 02:19

    I love South Africa and I intend to come and visit often-but as a proud Aussie our tail enders and an 18 year old Man of the match on debut did us all proud..you can't say we didn't win and that your team lost it..

      Bob - 2011-11-22 08:11

      Fair comment Julie, off course you are correct, the Aussies did win this test, both sides played some good cricket and some woeful cricket and in the end the Aussies won, it is real bad sportsmanship to take their win away from them and say SA lost it, in that case you could say SA didn't win the first test and Aussie gave it to them.

  • isak.dippenaar - 2011-11-22 07:35

    is this Smith the captain of RSA or Australia?? or is he working for the BOOKIES.

  • Andre - 2011-11-22 07:37

    Drop Smith he is a useless captain and player!!!!

  • sjg7373 - 2011-11-22 08:09

    Test cricket won, but the Proteas lost a game they should have won....AGAIN!!!

  • macvdm - 2011-11-22 08:42

    I'm getting so tired of miff smiff! Cricket won....we should've won cappy!!?? SA cricket needs a serious wake up, we always think that no one else but those in the national team "deserves" a chance, well Vernon Philander just blew that theory out the door. I think there are lots of deserving cricketers currently playing in the national leagues that should get a chance instead of these "I'm happy with a draw" dudes...a draw is like kissing your sister, nothing nice about that, here my views on a shake-up: 1. It's time to make AB the captain in all formats, we need someone with energy that will actually wnat to get off his ass and go bowl out the opposition (i sat and watched smiff sit on his ass against england and yawning away in this last game during breaks when he was supposed to strategise) 2. go and check the stats in the national leagues, the best 11 in all formats should be in the team, throw the Proteas into the national mix, see if they can cope and justify their elevated status, 3. I'd like guys like Richard Levi and Jon-Jon Smuts to open for the new 1 day side, they are smashing all bowlers to smithereens, smiff as opener is not doing this, nor Amla, if one of them fails, we still have another big hitter up front, JJ Smuts is also decent slow bowler 4. as far as tests, we need new blood...darryn smit in for boucher...smit's keeping is good and he can bat, just have a look what he's done recently, or maybe vilas, but i think he'll be better in the one day side..tbc

  • macvdm - 2011-11-22 08:48

    tbc... 5. JP should be back in test team...he brings energy and skill...and he can bowl well, we needed another form bowler yesterday when Steyn for once had an off day 6. Morne Morkel? i'm not convinced, he doesn't take wickets...Lopsy is slower, but he takes wickets...give him another run

      Igenatius - 2011-11-22 09:10

      I agree with 83.33% of everything you said :) so basically,only point number six that I differ on. Morkel is a class act. He struggled a bit in this test, yes. There were certainly a lot of balls of his that went past the outside edge. He just needed a little luck (as in all sports) and it just wasn't happening. Otherwise I think your comments are SPOT ON! I agree with everything else you said. What would you think of Johan Botha as Captain in all formats though? That boytjie is a fighter!

      Johan - 2011-11-22 10:14

      @lgenatius. Botha as captain will be ideal. The guy is dedicated and fit (in many ways), like you won't believe. While the other players are finding excuses to sleep late, Botha is out doing 10km runs and whipping everyone in fitness tests.

  • Shirley - 2011-11-22 10:30

    I have read all the comments here with great interest. So many different opinions with valid points in each. My 5cents take is that we should of won yesterday-some very weak field placing restricting runs towards the end etc. I was vey dissapointed as a fan but if I am honest I agree that cricket won yesterday-there hasnt been such an exiting test match in a long time. As for Smith,sure he hasnt been his best for a while now but he is not the problem in the team, We all expect players. Kallis,Amla,Smith to get tons on the day and when they dont we blame them but what about the other 8? Dale Steyn played a brilliant knock on sunday showing commitment to his wicket but then you have a Boucher or a Prince who show absolutely no commitment what so ever. Sure there is a darker side with betting/match fixing but I think we are all to eager to use that as a reason instead of just accepting that on the given day certain players didnt come to the party and left it up to the old steadfasts to win the game. That is NOT a team!

  • macvdm - 2011-11-22 11:42

    @igenatius: 83,33% agree...wow, that's some detail there hehehe I used to think Johan Botha would be ideal captain, and yes, still maybe for 1 dayers, but it is almost like finding a place for him in the side these days, is he no. 1 spinner? is he a good allrounder? I reckon one must first get in the team based on your batting/bowling performance, then you pick the captain...Smith has been riding on that captain bike for far too long and not performing (at least not in 1 dayers) that's why i said go with AB for all formats

  • Raeez - 2011-11-22 12:22

    Must admit, I also called for Smithy's head but he done well the past 2 Test. Lead the Boys well. Just a pitty thet couldnt pull it thru at the end.

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