You can say we’re a very good team – Smith

2013-02-18 09:35

The Proteas have earned the tag “a very good team”, captain Graeme Smith said after their four-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Test yesterday.

The Test win was South Africa’s fifth in succession.

“It would be nice to get a tag as a very good team. I think we’ve earned that and as a team we want to keep on producing these results and performances,” Smith said.

“Each week is a different challenge and a different obstacle, but it is nice to have that confidence within ourselves in that we can perform in different places and we’re a team that can perform.”

Wins have been coming rather easy for the Proteas – in four days or less and from a strong position.

They found themselves conceding a first-innings lead and suffered at the hands of offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who took 10 wickets in the match. Smith said the win was the most rewarding of the summer.

“We were under a little bit of pressure on day three and we needed two days of big performances and to get them was incredible,” Smith said.

“Robbie (Peterson) was inspirational with his 84 and everyone that contributed on that day to get us to the total and that was going to be the key. It was about creating as much pressure on their batting line-up as we could.”

The Newlands pitch was not the typical South African track that offered pace and bounce. Ajmal revelled in it.

Smith said controlling Pakistan’s run rate on the wicket was one of the key factors that led to the win.

“It was going to be a challenge for us with the old ball and we talked about how an old ball spell could win us the match and it did,” Smith said.

“The fact that we were able to control Pakistan’s run rate to around two an over and when Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq came in, we knew if we could control that game and get close to the new ball we could strike. We got it just before that, which was exciting.”

The hopes of the tourists lay with the captain, Misbah-ul-Haq.

His dismissal by Peterson, a rather soft one in the context of the match, was seen to be the pivotal moment of the match.

He agreed as much.

“It was the turning point. After that the collapse started and I think that was the time we should have just carried on,” a despondent Misbah said.

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