Pakistan v SA

Smith hails spirited response

2013-10-26 17:37
Graeme Smith (AFP)

Dubai - Skipper Graeme Smith hailed South Africa's comeback win in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Saturday, which maintained their seven-year unbeaten record away from home.

South Africa completed their innings and 92-run win in the last hour of the penultimate day after bowling Pakistan out for 326.

That shored up South Africa's world number one status in Tests and their unbeaten away record since losing 2-0 in Sri Lanka in 2006.

But Smith admitted his team needs to do more to be compared with all-time greats.

"I think we got a lot to do to be compared with great teams... for us to have that record away from home is an extremely proud one to have," said Smith, named man-of-the-match for his epic 234 in South Africa's first innings total of 517.

"I don't think many teams in the current status of world cricket can travel as well as we do and be able to perform in all the conditions, the pressures, the environments that you face on the road," added Smith, whose side have been ranked number one since beating England last year.

Smith admitted it was tough to play a two-Test series and come back after losing the first Test in Abu Dhabi by seven wickets.

"Right through my career I've struggled to understand the two-match series, obviously now the series is 1-1 I think everyone would have loved another one," said Smith, whose team recorded their 100th win in 207 Tests since being re-admitted to international cricket in 1991.

South Africa were banned in 1970 from international cricket for their government's apartheid policy.

Smith praised leg-spinner Imran Tahir, Pakistan-born but raised in South Africa who took a career best 5-32 to bowl Pakistan out for a paltry 99 in the first innings.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq rued a below par score and missed catches.

"I think to start with, that was a really bad session, getting out on a pretty flat pitch for 99, that was something which we couldn't recover from," said Misbah.

"After that we missed chances in the field especially the chance of AB (De Villiers)," said Misbah of the drop catch by wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal off paceman Mohammad Irfan.

De Villiers went on to make 164 and added an all time South African fifth wicket record of 338 with Smith.

Misbah and Asad Shafiq, who made a career best 130, took the fight to their rivals on Saturday, adding 197 for the fifth wicket but Misbah fell to part-timer Dean Elgar before tea, a dismissal he regretted.

"I think that was really not needed at that time, we would have ended the day with four wickets down, because me and Asad were really settled, and that was really bad," said Misbah, whose team lost for the first time in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Pakistan have been forced to play their home games in UAE since a terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

Misvbah praised Shafiq for his fighting innings.

"He (Shafiq) is really a big plus for us, everybody knows that he is capable of that, he was short on confidence but showed a lot of character and played very well," said Misbah of Shafiq.

Misbah will now lead Pakistan in the five-match one-day series against South Africa, starting on Wednesday in Sharjah.

The two teams will also play two Twenty20 internationals.

Read more on:    proteas  |  pakistan v sa  |  graeme smith  |  cricket


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