Dale Steyn was the difference – Graeme Smith

2014-02-24 08:48

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Proteas test captain Graeme Smith hailed Dale Steyn’s spell of reverse swing as the clincher in South Africa’s 231-run win over Australia in the second test in Port Elizabeth.

Steyn removed the dangerous New South Welshman Michael Clarke, Steven Smith and Brad Haddin in successive order before coming back and taking the crucial wicket of Ryan Harris at a very late stage of the game.

“Dale’s anger goes from very angry to extremely angry at the best of times, but we knew he is always one spell away from creating something very special for us. It is nice to know that you have people like that in your team,” Smith said.

“There are high expectations put on him and when they are not met, people start asking questions but it is great to see him respond like he did when there is something on the line. It is exciting to see that as a captain.”

Ups and downs are part of sport and Smith said the fact that they were able to bounce back from the demoralising first test defeat was down to their experience. The Proteas have not been a team that have done well in first tests but have somehow found the resolve to bounce back and take wins in second tests.

Smith said: “That is sport and that is a true reality of life if you want to see it that way. The week building up to the test match was a tough one for us. We needed to be smart, clinical and have good ideas of where we wanted to be and what we wanted to do.

“I don’t think many teams would have been able to respond to defeats in the manner that we did. I’ve seen some terrific victories from this team and nine wickets in a session is very special.”

Australian captain Michael Clarke was gracious in defeat and also extended credit to Steyn. He said what the Proteas had done in the magical last session was an example of the excellent knowledge of home conditions.

“What you saw was a high-class spell of reverse swing bowling from all of the South African bowlers, but Dale Steyn was just special. He showed how to get the ball to reverse. We didn’t get the ball to reverse in both innings. We saw a class bowler consistently operating at high speeds,” Clarke said.

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