English media praise SA

2012-08-22 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Graeme Smith’s South African team, proud new holders of the ICC Test mace, earned generous laurels yesterday from the media in England, the country they have just eclipsed to the mantle after a three-Test series.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, writing in the Daily Telegraph after the 2-0 outcome in the Proteas’ favour, said: “If we are being honest this series could have been 3-0. South Africa have been that much better.

“[They] can change the game in an hour. While England have declined, our opponents have improved.

“England need to regroup, but I can’t think of a tougher place to do that than India where they tour [later this year].

“England deservedly reached number one, beating India and Australia on their way to the top, but I started to worry when I heard comments from players such as ‘we are going to be the team of an era’.

“It was too early to be saying those things — England’s legacy was always going to be made or broken in 2012.”

Mike Selvey of The Guardian suggested: “England have not become a poor side, as their performances in the second and third Tests showed … there is no disgrace in losing to a side of such quality, arguably the best team to visit here since the 2005 Australians and minus their wicketkeeper and fulcrum Mark Boucher.

“His loss clearly offered an additional spur.”

Another ex-England captain, Nasser Hussain, wrote in the Daily Mail saying : “South Africa were the better side, simple as that.

“They out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded England, with dropped catches from Andrew Strauss’s team proving the most costly difference.

“[The Proteas] have the best attack I’ve seen in England in many years.

“I hadn’t seen much of Vernon Philander before, but he lived up to the start he has made in Test cricket and was brilliant on Monday.

“They have certainly been better than England’s bowlers and the biggest reason for that is Jacques Kallis.

“The benefit of having him as fifth bowler was demonstrated again when Graeme Smith was able to throw him the ball and he removed Stuart Broad, who had held them up.”

In The Independent, Kevin Garside was no less complimentary to the South Africans: “England didn’t lose this series, they were beaten — well beaten in the end.

“There is no mystery, just excellence in the fundamentals, which when added together amounts to crushing efficiency.

“South Africa score runs at the top of the order, reinforce that with a no-frills orthodoxy in the middle and bat long into the tail.

“The attack is so well balanced that [Smith] can afford to hold back his most potent weapon, the Usain Bolt-quick Dale Steyn, bringing him on as first change.”

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