Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Perth, 5th day December 21, 2008

Chokers no more

History is written by the victors and this year South Africa have made so many alterations to the accepted version that the past is now irrelevant
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The chase was so well calculated that it even allowed de Villiers to reach his century in the dying stages and Duminy to finish with an invaluable unbeaten 50 on debut © PA Photos
 

History is written by the victors and this year South Africa have made so many alterations to the accepted version that the past is now irrelevant. Their brilliant chase of 414, orchestrated by their two youngest batsmen, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, proved again that no target is out of reach these days and that despite what Australia wanted to believe, South Africa hold no demons from past failures.

They are two matches from potentially climbing the biggest mountain in world cricket. Apparently, 2008 is the international year of the frog and it could well finish with South Africa poised to leap over Australia and into the top position on the world Test rankings. Wins in the remaining two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney will get them there and on the evidence displayed at the WACA, and with Australia to visit South Africa in February, it will be only a matter of time.

The key difference in this South African side compared to the older versions is their self-belief. Australia have daunted South Africa so much over the years that had Mitchell Johnson's eight-wicket haul come in a previous series the team's confidence would have been shattered. But the calmness of the captain Graeme Smith and the coach Mickey Arthur has rubbed off on this unit and the way they fought back to restrict Australia to 319 in the second innings was the key.

"There's only really one statement that stands out in the game," Smith said. "If we didn't rock up on the day after Mitchell's spell and bowl as well as we did, put that statement in place that we're here and we're not going away, then we wouldn't be sitting here today."

Smith was the hero when his team chased down 281 to win at Edgbaston this year, which gave them their first series victory in England for 43 years. He again made a century in this triumph, the second-highest chase of all time, which he was still struggling to comprehend after the match.

"We've had such an incredible last year and a half," Smith said. "Victories in the subcontinent, in England, a really big victory at Edgbaston, which was very emotional. But I think the emotions that we felt through this game, where we were and the way we came back, everyone has contributed so from that perspective it's got to be a great Test win for South Africa. It's got to go up there with my best wins ever."

Smith was underplaying the significance of the victory slightly. A visiting South African journalist said the win would rank alongside any of the nation's sporting achievements and it's hard to disagree. The enormity of the chase was one thing but defying the trend between the two sides made it all the more exhilarating. South Africa's most recent two wins against Australia had come in dead rubbers in Durban in 2001-02 and Centurion in 1996-97. Only once since readmission had they prevailed in Australia.


The key difference in this South African side compared to the older versions is their self-belief © Getty Images
 

It was the perfect chase, every bit as impressive as India's 387 in Chennai last week, not the least because it was away from home against the world's top-ranked team. It began with Smith and Hashim Amla building a platform, continued with de Villiers and Jacques Kallis reeling the target to within sight and culminated in de Villiers and Duminy completing the order. It was so well calculated that it even allowed de Villiers to reach his century in the dying stages and Duminy to finish with an invaluable unbeaten 50 on debut.

Both men thoroughly deserved the milestones and it completed their remarkable journey from the Under-11 tournaments they used to play against each other. They have taken different paths to the top, de Villiers being rushed into the side at 20 and being tried in just about every position over 47 Tests; and Duminy waiting on the fringes and watching enviously until a thumb injury to Ashwell Prince opened up a spot in this match.

When de Villiers was last seen in Australia in 2005-06 he was being tested as an opener and made a couple of promising half-centuries but was still learning on the job. He has matured immensely since then and, much like the string of brilliant catches he took during the match, he wasn't about to let this game slip through his hands. There was no streakiness and apart from a drive that just cleared mid-on, barely any half-chances.

He had come to the crease with 235 runs still required and but the target wasn't weighing on his mind. Small goals were set and partnerships were built, first with Kallis and then with Duminy. The century took care of itself and he celebrated enthusiastically when it came, not so much because of his score but because he had helped his team set up what by then was a certain victory.

"It was never really an issue if I get a hundred or not against the Aussies," de Villiers said. "It was just important to get through today. It's more important to win a Test match over here than get my own hundred. But it's done and it's great to have gotten a hundred and win the Test match in one game. It's an amazing feeling and it's a dream come true for me."

At 24, the men are younger than all of Australia's players bar Peter Siddle, who was born in the same year. That it has taken South Africa several years to build this side should not be lost on Australia, who are battling to balance struggling stars with new men still finding their feet. Australia have written the script between these sides for so long that it is hard to imagine a new author. Within the next fortnight, South Africa could write their own names into the history books.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 24, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    Chokers? SA? Nay. NOT Smith's Boys. Not since Smith took the reins in his hands. SA were always as talented (Read: Cullinan, Donald, Rhodes, Pollock, Cronje, Klusener, Kirsten) as the Oz (in hey days) but in those times they DO used to choke against the steely, chillingly cold-blooded ruthless Steve Waugh & co. in crunch situations in ODIs (Read: The 1999 WC Semi-Final Tie: Most Painful for a SA fan). All of a psychological & nothing of a talent problem. In Tests, the reality is that the only guy between SA & the Test Crown was Shane Warne. The only ones who could spank Warne were 1. the whole Indian team, 2. Kallis & 3. a certain guy called Kevin Pietersen. Else he spelled Doom for everybody. But Krejza\Hauritz is no Warne, Hilfenhaus\Bollinger is no McGrath. And most importantly, Ricky Ponting is no Steve Waugh. Definitely not without the legends Warne\McGrath. I don't know what stuff Steve 'The Machine' Waugh was made of. He simply used to bog down SA in critical junctures.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 24, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Oz will rebuild in a year, NO DOUBT, but there will never be another Warne. Good news for SA bats, bad news for Indian bats. Nothing used to give more pleasure than watching Warne playing chess with the hapless batsmen on the pitch. But Sachin & co. still spanked him. ha ! ha ! ha !

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 24, 2008, 17:26 GMT

    My Sixth Sense tells me SA\Oz are going to iron out their flaws from the previous test & try to strangulate\suffocate each other in the appropriately named 'Boxing Day' test. This would be less of Test & more of Chess & Boxing. As a SA fan, some memories are painful: 1. The spanking by Sanga and Jaya in Sri Lanka(2004 or 2006 ?). Both hit Double centuries. 2. Double century by Hodge in his first cap. 3. Ponting the Great, going on a massacre mission in 2005-2006. 4. Hussey's 122 while controlling the tail (most frustrating). 5. Shane Warne 6. Donald's breakdown in 2001-2002. But 2004 was the worst year for Smith's boys but then they were in building phase and still learning. People learn from Failures & not Successes. The worst phase has gone. In 2003, Smith had inherited leftovers & in 2004, Ponting had inherited a Rolls Royce. But now without Warne, the Oz are now on the receiving end for the first time for a change.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_no-1_Fan on | December 24, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    1st Test was a Thriller. I really enjoyed the Test match. It was a seesaw battle. But in the end It was too easy for Proteas who won by 6 wickets. They could have chase 500 or more runs on that pitch. That gives the good idea of the pitch and how well Proteas Bowlers had performed in this match. It is very good to see all the Bowlers are among the wickets Unlike Australia only Mitchell Johnson has performed well. If this thing continues surely Australia will really struggle to match with Proteas because Proteas can only concentrate on Johnson's Bowling and they can dominate the other Bowlers. Australia's Top Order failed on both the Innings and It will also cause a major trouble to Aussies. Proteas bowled well fielded well and batted well and they deserve this victory. And if they win the series against Australia at Australia they thoroughly deserve to be world No-1. I am 100% sure that they will be world no-1 in ICC rankings at least after their home series against Australia.

  • POSTED BY CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on | December 23, 2008, 16:33 GMT

    @TheDoctor394.. well do ya remember the partnership b/w sangakara n mahela against SA .. he he...

  • POSTED BY CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on | December 23, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    what I have seen the aussies.. give them 1 year or so.. they ll again b back to their best.. well mate they r not west indies.. they know how to protect and explore their talent.. it does matter when u r looking for the replacement of Warnie and McGrath.. boy they ll b back.. from an Indian cricket lover

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 23, 2008, 5:09 GMT

    SA has Steyn, Morkel, Ntini, Kallis (Mr. Cricket), the effective Harris - all proven performers and other upcoming quality bowlers.

    Oz ? The problem with Oz is: they have all upcoming Batsmen but no one to replace Warne. The ageing Lee (32) has been expensive against competitive rivals India\SA. His excellent performance against any other opponent now won't satisfy the selection committee. Watson - an All Rounder not a specialist bowler. Hilfenhaus - unknown, just yet another Pace-man vs SA. Siddle & Krejza - still learners. In reality, Krejza holds no future promise v. SA\India. So except Johnson who replaces McGrath, who else ? SA has always blasted any spinner except Kumble-Warne-Murali. India has blasted all. Two of them - gone. And a long long period has to pass before SA & Sri Lanka (ageing Murali) face-off again. So...

  • POSTED BY keyur_s on | December 22, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    @ Popcorn- I agree with you that australia has dominated cricket for the last decade or so. They have set standards for the others to match. They have had many greats during this period: a batsman who could come in at 7 and blast the opposition bowling away, a magical spinner and a very accurate pacer who believed they could defend just about any total among many other greats.

    But to say that the current team is still the dominant team in the world is to deny the truth: This year excluding bangladesh their record in tests is 4 losses(perth to india and sa and 2 in india), 3 wins(sydney vs. india [which would have been a draw if symonds had been given out in the first innings or ganguly or dravid notout in 4th innings] and 2 wins vs. nz.) and 3 draws.

  • POSTED BY klempie on | December 22, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    @popcorn. Pity it's all starting to go downhill eh? Remember the West Indies used to be the Australia of cricket. Not saying Aus will ever plumb the depths WI have but it's time for someone else to take over the mantle. Seriously, what I see on offer from the new Aus brigade is certainly not awe-inspiring. Also remember, a Pakistani is qualifying for us (for once) in April. Once we've got that wrist spin on board we'll have the best attack in world cricket.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 22, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    1- History means Nothing. Let's live in today's real Present. If SA had thought of their horrible past against Oz while playing they would have lost at Perth.

    2- Maybe the phrase that fits here is: "Those who refuse learn from and turn a blind eye towards the Present have nothing to put blame on except themselves if the Future goes wrong." I mean, can't you see the difference between a one-off failure and a Beginning of an End ? For me anything less than Rank-2 for Oz. means their End.

    3- If there are any biased pitches ever made anywhere in any outdoor games then the MOST biased ones are made by Sri Lankan for cricket just suitable for Murali. I respect him but unlike Warne who had performed on ANY provided pitch - except against the Indians, Murali didn't. The Irony of it: Lankans calling Indians the tigers at... you know where.

    My heart says: SA 6-0 Oz. My head says: 2-1 in favour of SA - Away n Home. That won't be enough but atleast that will be a Start.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 24, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    Chokers? SA? Nay. NOT Smith's Boys. Not since Smith took the reins in his hands. SA were always as talented (Read: Cullinan, Donald, Rhodes, Pollock, Cronje, Klusener, Kirsten) as the Oz (in hey days) but in those times they DO used to choke against the steely, chillingly cold-blooded ruthless Steve Waugh & co. in crunch situations in ODIs (Read: The 1999 WC Semi-Final Tie: Most Painful for a SA fan). All of a psychological & nothing of a talent problem. In Tests, the reality is that the only guy between SA & the Test Crown was Shane Warne. The only ones who could spank Warne were 1. the whole Indian team, 2. Kallis & 3. a certain guy called Kevin Pietersen. Else he spelled Doom for everybody. But Krejza\Hauritz is no Warne, Hilfenhaus\Bollinger is no McGrath. And most importantly, Ricky Ponting is no Steve Waugh. Definitely not without the legends Warne\McGrath. I don't know what stuff Steve 'The Machine' Waugh was made of. He simply used to bog down SA in critical junctures.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 24, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Oz will rebuild in a year, NO DOUBT, but there will never be another Warne. Good news for SA bats, bad news for Indian bats. Nothing used to give more pleasure than watching Warne playing chess with the hapless batsmen on the pitch. But Sachin & co. still spanked him. ha ! ha ! ha !

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 24, 2008, 17:26 GMT

    My Sixth Sense tells me SA\Oz are going to iron out their flaws from the previous test & try to strangulate\suffocate each other in the appropriately named 'Boxing Day' test. This would be less of Test & more of Chess & Boxing. As a SA fan, some memories are painful: 1. The spanking by Sanga and Jaya in Sri Lanka(2004 or 2006 ?). Both hit Double centuries. 2. Double century by Hodge in his first cap. 3. Ponting the Great, going on a massacre mission in 2005-2006. 4. Hussey's 122 while controlling the tail (most frustrating). 5. Shane Warne 6. Donald's breakdown in 2001-2002. But 2004 was the worst year for Smith's boys but then they were in building phase and still learning. People learn from Failures & not Successes. The worst phase has gone. In 2003, Smith had inherited leftovers & in 2004, Ponting had inherited a Rolls Royce. But now without Warne, the Oz are now on the receiving end for the first time for a change.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_no-1_Fan on | December 24, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    1st Test was a Thriller. I really enjoyed the Test match. It was a seesaw battle. But in the end It was too easy for Proteas who won by 6 wickets. They could have chase 500 or more runs on that pitch. That gives the good idea of the pitch and how well Proteas Bowlers had performed in this match. It is very good to see all the Bowlers are among the wickets Unlike Australia only Mitchell Johnson has performed well. If this thing continues surely Australia will really struggle to match with Proteas because Proteas can only concentrate on Johnson's Bowling and they can dominate the other Bowlers. Australia's Top Order failed on both the Innings and It will also cause a major trouble to Aussies. Proteas bowled well fielded well and batted well and they deserve this victory. And if they win the series against Australia at Australia they thoroughly deserve to be world No-1. I am 100% sure that they will be world no-1 in ICC rankings at least after their home series against Australia.

  • POSTED BY CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on | December 23, 2008, 16:33 GMT

    @TheDoctor394.. well do ya remember the partnership b/w sangakara n mahela against SA .. he he...

  • POSTED BY CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on | December 23, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    what I have seen the aussies.. give them 1 year or so.. they ll again b back to their best.. well mate they r not west indies.. they know how to protect and explore their talent.. it does matter when u r looking for the replacement of Warnie and McGrath.. boy they ll b back.. from an Indian cricket lover

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 23, 2008, 5:09 GMT

    SA has Steyn, Morkel, Ntini, Kallis (Mr. Cricket), the effective Harris - all proven performers and other upcoming quality bowlers.

    Oz ? The problem with Oz is: they have all upcoming Batsmen but no one to replace Warne. The ageing Lee (32) has been expensive against competitive rivals India\SA. His excellent performance against any other opponent now won't satisfy the selection committee. Watson - an All Rounder not a specialist bowler. Hilfenhaus - unknown, just yet another Pace-man vs SA. Siddle & Krejza - still learners. In reality, Krejza holds no future promise v. SA\India. So except Johnson who replaces McGrath, who else ? SA has always blasted any spinner except Kumble-Warne-Murali. India has blasted all. Two of them - gone. And a long long period has to pass before SA & Sri Lanka (ageing Murali) face-off again. So...

  • POSTED BY keyur_s on | December 22, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    @ Popcorn- I agree with you that australia has dominated cricket for the last decade or so. They have set standards for the others to match. They have had many greats during this period: a batsman who could come in at 7 and blast the opposition bowling away, a magical spinner and a very accurate pacer who believed they could defend just about any total among many other greats.

    But to say that the current team is still the dominant team in the world is to deny the truth: This year excluding bangladesh their record in tests is 4 losses(perth to india and sa and 2 in india), 3 wins(sydney vs. india [which would have been a draw if symonds had been given out in the first innings or ganguly or dravid notout in 4th innings] and 2 wins vs. nz.) and 3 draws.

  • POSTED BY klempie on | December 22, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    @popcorn. Pity it's all starting to go downhill eh? Remember the West Indies used to be the Australia of cricket. Not saying Aus will ever plumb the depths WI have but it's time for someone else to take over the mantle. Seriously, what I see on offer from the new Aus brigade is certainly not awe-inspiring. Also remember, a Pakistani is qualifying for us (for once) in April. Once we've got that wrist spin on board we'll have the best attack in world cricket.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 22, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    1- History means Nothing. Let's live in today's real Present. If SA had thought of their horrible past against Oz while playing they would have lost at Perth.

    2- Maybe the phrase that fits here is: "Those who refuse learn from and turn a blind eye towards the Present have nothing to put blame on except themselves if the Future goes wrong." I mean, can't you see the difference between a one-off failure and a Beginning of an End ? For me anything less than Rank-2 for Oz. means their End.

    3- If there are any biased pitches ever made anywhere in any outdoor games then the MOST biased ones are made by Sri Lankan for cricket just suitable for Murali. I respect him but unlike Warne who had performed on ANY provided pitch - except against the Indians, Murali didn't. The Irony of it: Lankans calling Indians the tigers at... you know where.

    My heart says: SA 6-0 Oz. My head says: 2-1 in favour of SA - Away n Home. That won't be enough but atleast that will be a Start.

  • POSTED BY Googly03 on | December 22, 2008, 10:28 GMT

    What a chase! It's now really proven that Australia,led by their captain TALK A LOT!And they are boasting,and bragging...and making strange excuses,this and that...and of course either overestimate themselves or underestimate their opponents! And Greg!You better think twice b4 saying anything to public or in media.

  • POSTED BY Cricdish on | December 22, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    Lets not jump the gun. There're still 2 tests to go. I fully anticipate that South Africa will lose the series 2-1.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | December 22, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    Consider this,all you guys who have an inferiority complex: Does ANY country take so much pride in beating ANY other country than Australia? No. So Australia IS Mount Everest because of their achievements: 16 consecutive Test match wins - not once, but twice.Home and Away.Match THAT for consistency. Three World Cups in succession - 1999,2003,2007.And one before that,1987. Admit it,they have raised the bar.Even one win by country A against them,and the country declares a holiday! Don't forget the Open Top Red Bus that carted the Ashes winners of 2005. Wonder what kind of reception they got when they were trounced 5 to nothing in 2006-07. 14 years of World Dominance,mate.Match that. One or two losses,and the rest of the world is saying, "Aussies in decline mode?"

  • POSTED BY Murray_midget on | December 22, 2008, 9:36 GMT

    Fantastic effort by SA, however I think this 'chokers no more' is a complete red herring. They weren't choking against Australia, they were merely unable to combat Warney and McGrath. They would have failed to chase 200 against the big man, let alone 400.

    A lot of supposed ozzie psyhological points scoring is actually the fact that they are very good. SA are the only team worse than England at facing spin (and that is only because of the improvements that Fletcher made to England's batting.) So against the master they weren't good enough, they weren't choking.

    The post Warne/McGrath era has certainly made world test cricket a more level playing field, and with the impressive Clarke injured the idea of chasing a big'un against the ozzies is not the impossible task it once was. Although the consistent high standards of ozzie cricket still prevail, without superhuman champions they are now just part of the pack.

  • POSTED BY wonky on | December 22, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    Yes, this was a fantastic victory and yes this makes up for the hurt of the past. Let's never forget though the value that the likes of Warne, Mcgrath, Steve Waugh and the Gilgrists of the world added to the Aussie side. They were champion players that come along probably once in a generation and it was inevitable that Aussie cricket would suffer without them. I have been one of many South Africans waiting for this day, however, as great as it is, it was a touch hollow because we wanted to beat the side that always gave us a wallop. Time has robbed us of that honour but we should never forget just how great a side Aussie had from lets say 1996 to 2006. In the one dayers we had some memorable moments against them but in tests, they were invincible. In this moment of victory we should reflect and pay respect to the players Aussie has lost ... may we never see you on the field again (thank heavens for that) and may we always rememebr how great they were.

  • POSTED BY tass on | December 22, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Excellent peformance, led from the front by Captain Smith. If am correct , Smith did mention the focus will move to Melbourne. Good Luck for the two test ,all the best with the well settled team.

  • POSTED BY Spacetrekker on | December 22, 2008, 5:15 GMT

    Well done SA. Loads of praise for the rising team. They did the almost impossible. Nowadays all these huge scores are looking very nominal, of course for great teams. This phenomena can well attribute itself to the prevalence of Twenty-20. Teams are getting lot more confident as they try to achieve the same feat in tests, but tests are rather aeons apart from the shortest version. Still, RSA have proved themselves. Now the onus lies on how they handle the next matches. Lots being talked about AUS bouncing back. But we have already seen how they bounced back against India after conceding a humiliating defeat at Mohali. RSA are gonna win this test series easily. Aussies have to understand that they have lost their old aura. Hope somebody gives them consolation. The Ashes are going to be really interesting.

  • POSTED BY coffeewriter on | December 22, 2008, 2:35 GMT

    I must agree with a few of the comments. Firstly, I'm also immensely proud of the SA team. It's amazing what a difference the mental composure has made to the team - it's been repeated so often that this has primarily been the diff's between these two great sides. I also agree that is was quite shameful how Ponting berated his players on television. His own game was well below par - uninspired bowling changes and field settings and a lack of trying different things certainly contributed to the loss- as did his poor attitude on the last day that must have rubbed off on his fellow players. And the Australian commentators had the nerve to criticise Smith's captaincy on the first day regarding his attitude about the ball??? Which brings me to the final point of agreement with previous posts- Mr Chappel and Company's ungracious spirit. They've been demeaning South Africa's belief and commitment on this site and elsewhere throughout the test- I hope your words taste as bitter when swallowed!

  • POSTED BY Patmorita on | December 22, 2008, 2:06 GMT

    Well Done to the South African team.I hope this makes some of the Aussie Commentators eat humble pie.Cherish and enjoy the victory

  • POSTED BY TheDoctor394 on | December 22, 2008, 1:03 GMT

    Are people forgetting that India lost their last overseas series, to Sri Lanka? They really haven't proven themselves well enough yet to be seen as the first or second best side in the world.

  • POSTED BY Khundmiri on | December 21, 2008, 23:03 GMT

    Well done SA on such a historic win against the world champs significantly on their turf. That'll bring alot of confidence for the Boxing day test but beware Australia will come firing back, although they may not have McGrath and Warnie but this Oz side is definatley capable of levelling the series. Its now a battle for top rank, it'll be a great match to watch. Test Cricket is the soul of the game keep us entertaining.

  • POSTED BY Mahesh_AV on | December 21, 2008, 18:47 GMT

    Hats off to the South Africans. Fantastic win. I hope they have the time to enjoy a nice Braai with chilled beer and occasional shots of Jager (forgive me Hashim but you can still enjoy the Braai). They certainly deserve it after this great effort. They deserve to win the series and despite being a hardcore India fan, at this point in time I would say they deserve to be world no. 1 team.

  • POSTED BY boombasticl101 on | December 21, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Well done to SA, fulfilling the expectations of a nation that thrive on pride. And brilliantly led by Smith. This was a great test to watch, and has given test cricket the push that it needs nowadays.

    The only disappointment to me was the way that Ponting tried to usher all blame in the direction of everyyone else in his side. Sometimes I think silence says a lot more than dishing the dirt on your team mates ability or lack of. Fortunately I haven't witnessed a losing South African skipper berate his team live on air the way that Ponting did, but if I did I would be embarrassed. I hope for his sake he still has the respect of some of those players. Bring on the next 2 matches. Can't wait.

  • POSTED BY DamieninFrance on | December 21, 2008, 16:07 GMT

    As an Australian, I have to take my hat off and say 'Well played, South Africa'. Great test, great cricket and a great result for the rainbow nation.

    To Gharo, it's so good to see your pride in your nation, but to answer your question about why we can't replace Warne, McGrath and co. like you guys have..... well, I guess that almost 14 years of complete dominance of world cricket just isn't all that impressive to you guys on the Cape any more!

  • POSTED BY Tweaker on | December 21, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    Can't tell you how happy I am as a South African supporter! For one thing I am so happy that we blunted Ian Chappell's completely negative outlook on SA. Sure, the past has indicated that we will choke but his commentary is so biased. Yesterday he gave Kallies such a hard time for batting slowly and selfishly but then didn't have the humility to say anything when Kallis broke free at the end of the day in what was a very importnat two overs of explosive batting. He also complimented Brett Lee for holding back on his appealing to AB but I didnt see that and also failed to mention anything about Amla's sportmanship when he walked. One eyed to say the least.

    Anyway, enough of that. Its not time to complain. Time to toast a great team. Still some way to go but I'd now back us more than ever to take at least one more if not both of the remaing games.

    What do the Aussies make of Ponting having a dig at all the players?

    Chuffed!

  • POSTED BY sri1ram on | December 21, 2008, 16:03 GMT

    At least now Ozzie fans should be convinced that this current team is decidedly inferior to the one with Warne/Mcgrath. India should have won the series in Australia 2:1 if not for Bucknor's antics at SCG! Which is why Ozzies were at their venomous worst that game because they would have thrown off the #1 status 6 months to a year earlier.

  • POSTED BY ashock on | December 21, 2008, 16:03 GMT

    Mevan Sri Lankans are the least qualified to talk about being tigers at home. India has fared better than the Lankans and Pakis. Atleast we've won series recently away in West Indies, England, Pakistan, won tests in SA and Australia that too in their prime.

    the trip of SriLanka was bad for us but it would owe it to bad selection and captaincy.

  • POSTED BY Mettie on | December 21, 2008, 15:56 GMT

    What is really interesting is the fact that cricketers born in South Africa performed excellently the last week for different countries. They also employed their trade elsewhere for different reasons. The gentleman Andy Strauss with centuries in each innings for England and the much respected Gary Kirsten as coach of an Indian team who came from behind to beat England. And of course, the pseudo Englishman, my old friend (?) Pietersen who scored a century today. In spite of those guys doing well for their adopted countries (Kirsten excluded, because he is a much loved, true and loyal South African), Graeme Smith's team still managed to accomplish the near impossible in modern day cricket. And to crown it all, some of the major performances came from guys like Ntini and Duminy, who according to some are not always there on merit.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | December 21, 2008, 15:46 GMT

    Even though one single defeat of AUS to SA should not be read into much, one cannot ignore the clear fact:(1). Since the last two years, SA has been on a ruthless rise. (2). The nemesis for SA, SHANE WARNE who has captured 130 South Africans in all the 24 matches that he played against them has now gone. Even If McGrath had played now without the support of Warne, he would also have been blasted by SA batsmen as they usually do to pace men. Because, McGrath flourished a little against SA only because of the tremendous pressure that was already created by Warne. Unless Australia produce a WRIST-spinner like Warne (which I don't see at all in the near future), I see SA run away with the title atleast in the Tests for some years now. Without Warne, Australia now is like just other good opponent for SA.

    Round 1: SA. Five to go. I predict: 2-1 in favour of SA - Away n Home.

    And, yes ... Statistics are like Skirts, they hide more than they reveal... especially the Ranking Points.

  • POSTED BY Kolhapur on | December 21, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    Great win for SA.. Its 2nd consecutive worst loss for Australia in PERTH ( Their Dream Wicket ) Cheers to all the South African Players.

  • POSTED BY SanjivSanjiv on | December 21, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    Congrats South Africa. Remain level headed for the last two tests. It is only the begining not the end. Don't lose focus. The job is not done yet. Another two to go. Australia will come hard in Melbourne and it is a happy ground for Ponting and others. Just for caution! Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia

  • POSTED BY mahjut on | December 21, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    I am pleased that SA have won this test as it shows where they are. They did well against England and India recently and should be seen for what they are - competitors. I always hated the chokers tag as it implied that they should have been beating Australia (and all things considered, they would have been doing VERY well to beat Australia at any point since readmission). This is there first realistic chance and i hope they can - i am looking forward to the next few years as England, India, Oz and SA all look like they will have close matches.

  • POSTED BY DaleHylton on | December 21, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    SA had Aus on the racks at 15/3 & again at 166/5 in the first innings, then even worse at 162/7 in the second. They lost their focus when the games seemed "too easy" & let the Aussies back in with 375 & 319 respectively - probably 150 runs more than Smith will be happy with. They were also 234/3 in their 1st innings, before collapsing to a 1st innings deficit with just 281. Again, a lapse in focus & at least 100 runs shy of expectations. You can bet that once the celebrations are past, Smith & Arthur will point this out & not be keen to let it happen again. Also, you can bet that they will work very hard & focus on a strategy to combat Johnson, who took 11 of Australia's 14 wickets. Expect him to be less effective in the next matches. The SA bowlers , on the other hand, shared the wickets, making it a more difficult job for the Aus brains trust. Each batsman also made a contribution & man-for-man outscored their Aussie opposites. This game could have been a hiding, not just a win!

  • POSTED BY Mevan on | December 21, 2008, 14:51 GMT

    All the Indians appear to have forgotten that just a few months back they lost a test series in Sri Lanka - fab four and all! In the first test they were thrashed by an Innings and over 200 runs. Goes to prove the point that Indians are only tigers in their own country - not even in the neighbourhood.

  • POSTED BY ns_krishnan on | December 21, 2008, 14:15 GMT

    I agree with Rahul.Gone are the days when India were lambs abroad.They have been winning tests abroad consistently over the past 8 years. South Africa have only beaten Australia now in meaningful Test.India have been successful against Australia even when they were at their prime.Read the column by Ian Chappell on Cricinfo. But, I am not taking anything away from the South Africans .It was a phenomenal chase.

  • POSTED BY Fireballz on | December 21, 2008, 14:09 GMT

    A great win by SA but hopefully the Aussies can bounce back. I enjoyed the to-and-fro of the match and South Africa were ahead after 5 days so well played. There is however 2 more matches to be played in this series. The reason Australia are ranked number 1 is because of long term success, not one-off wins. Series wins give more ranking points so hopefully the Aussies can recover in time for the Melbourne test and fight back against another good touring team!

  • POSTED BY Gharo on | December 21, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    dont Australia know that when Graeme Smith makes a century it means that south Africa is goin 2 win the match in all 18 centuries he made SA have won 14 and 4 drawn not a single match lost Australia should have known after his century that they are goin 2 lose by luck maybe draw the match

  • POSTED BY Sanjiyan on | December 21, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    popcorn, granted the aussies are still a formidable outfit they are not the force they used to be. I dont have to remind you of the legendary 438 odi between SA and Aus as proof that the Aussies arent the all concuering force they used to be. They have lost key players over the last few years but they also have promising newcommers as well. In a couple of years If SA keep up the good work and Aus find their rythem the matches wil rewrite history. I think the chockers shoe, for now, is now on the other foot. Well done SA you blokes make me proud!

  • POSTED BY Gharo on | December 21, 2008, 13:46 GMT

    great win for SA even though Ricky Pointing has not admitted that they were outplayed by SA he just blaming it on players as if he did not fail Australia I have been a south africa fan for every long time seeing them develop nicely after they lost some of their key players like Pollock bt the likes of steryn have filled the boots why cant Australia do the same if they the best in the world

  • POSTED BY kharkov on | December 21, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    Well done smith and co.Their era is over nw.India started in january in australia and in india.The proteas vl do the work complete

  • POSTED BY kurupji on | December 21, 2008, 13:28 GMT

    A very memorable victory indeed, Congratulations to South Africa. In fact, as an Indian, I was more engrossed in this SA-OZ match than the India-England match. I am sure Ricky Ponting and his guys will come back all gun firing in the next two games and that's what we cricket lovers want. May the best team win the series.

  • POSTED BY Victorian-Roo on | December 21, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    Hey popcorn....if you're saying that the Indians are lambs outside their country. Then lemme tell you that the Aussies are worst than that then. India was robbed of a victory at Sydney earlier this year else we would've beaten the Aussies 2-1. Anyways we defeated them in the ODIs so that means if the Indians are lambs...then the Aussies are kittens to have been beaten in the 1st 2 finals itself. Ricky Ponting was always found jabbering way too much about his team's superiority and asking other teams to match them up, that is, when Warne, Langer, McGrath and Gilly were there. Look now...his ordinary captaincy has been brutally exposed. He doesn't have the skills to make his team do wonders for him like Warne did in the IPL. And Brett Lee was always a different bowler whenever McGrath wasn't bowling from the other end. Too bad for the Aussies now. The faster they get used to this, the lesser pressure they'll exert on themselves.

  • POSTED BY Nata on | December 21, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    "India is only a tiger in their own country. Outside, they are lambs." - Pop Corn - Which era of Indian cricket you are following mate? Aussies are on decline and accept the fact. It is all a cycle, the fact that they are losing more only shows the amount of great work done by gems like Warne, McGrath and co.

  • POSTED BY Thasneem on | December 21, 2008, 13:25 GMT

    Its great to see SA win. Two noticeable things in this match, one SA did not panic and they doesn't seem to have any. two pointing was animated, out of ideas. a dull face. lacking aggression b'coz of his own form. in all he posted a face of a king who is about to loose everything he was haded over before passing it on to his successor. its great they had the top spot for a long time. its even great to see competition at the top.

  • POSTED BY hari_krish86 on | December 21, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Great and a famous victory for SA. They have continued their momentum this year into this series. Being an Indian, i enjoy this victory just for the reason that the victory India achieved in their home against Aus is being continued by another good team else where... Only if Aus is attacked on all sides, can we see good competitive matches and determine who the real number one is... Thanks to SA for beating Aus and doing so well.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | December 21, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    India is only a tiger in their own country. Outside, they are lambs. Even to dream of becoming Number 2 is a laugh. India have 4659 points from 40 matches,so their rating is 116,whereas for having played fewer matches, 37,South Africa have 4331 points,so their rating is 117, and Australia,the kings, have 4409 points from playing even fewer matches,34,so their rating is 130. Had Australia,or South Africa, played the same number of matches as India, in the same period, the gap between Australia and India, South Africa and India,would be even larger. See the huge gap betwen Number One, Australia, and the rest. I am amused that India should even think they can be Number 2.It is also amusing to see how a single win over Australia is celebrated as if it is like conquering Mount Everest! Yes,it probably is,because Australia is so good. I would also remind all that "one swallow doth not a summer make". South Africa have been beaten, time, and time again, both home and away, by Australia.

  • POSTED BY peeeeet on | December 21, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    I don't like how everyone is still saying that Australia is the best side in the world just because of the ranking system where all the points they had previously are what keep them there. Gone are the players that made Australia so dominant. From the 2004 India tour, the likes of Warne, McGrath, Gillespie, Kasprowicz, Martyn and Langer have all left, not to mention other greats that laid the foundations like the Waughs, Taylor and Slater. This Aussie team has now a struggling spearhead, inexperienced bowlers still finding their feet, a rapidly fading opener and a captain running out of ideas. In all honesty this team is probably ranked 3rd or 4th behind RSA, India, and Sri Lanka, and probably on par with England. Congrats on a perfect run chase RSA and lets hope that the Aussies get some more fight or the pitches less flat in the next two tests.

  • POSTED BY rv999 on | December 21, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    Can't agree more. What an amazing performance by South Africa. Have never been more thrilled than to see Australia lose at Perth. Ranks even higher than the pleasure I got out of watching India win in Chennai.

  • POSTED BY kabe_ag7 on | December 21, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    Love to see South Africa beating Australia like they did. Being an Indian, I'd rather want SA to win the rest two matches too than lose so that India could get ahead of SA and be number 2. Deserving victors!

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  • POSTED BY kabe_ag7 on | December 21, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    Love to see South Africa beating Australia like they did. Being an Indian, I'd rather want SA to win the rest two matches too than lose so that India could get ahead of SA and be number 2. Deserving victors!

  • POSTED BY rv999 on | December 21, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    Can't agree more. What an amazing performance by South Africa. Have never been more thrilled than to see Australia lose at Perth. Ranks even higher than the pleasure I got out of watching India win in Chennai.

  • POSTED BY peeeeet on | December 21, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    I don't like how everyone is still saying that Australia is the best side in the world just because of the ranking system where all the points they had previously are what keep them there. Gone are the players that made Australia so dominant. From the 2004 India tour, the likes of Warne, McGrath, Gillespie, Kasprowicz, Martyn and Langer have all left, not to mention other greats that laid the foundations like the Waughs, Taylor and Slater. This Aussie team has now a struggling spearhead, inexperienced bowlers still finding their feet, a rapidly fading opener and a captain running out of ideas. In all honesty this team is probably ranked 3rd or 4th behind RSA, India, and Sri Lanka, and probably on par with England. Congrats on a perfect run chase RSA and lets hope that the Aussies get some more fight or the pitches less flat in the next two tests.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | December 21, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    India is only a tiger in their own country. Outside, they are lambs. Even to dream of becoming Number 2 is a laugh. India have 4659 points from 40 matches,so their rating is 116,whereas for having played fewer matches, 37,South Africa have 4331 points,so their rating is 117, and Australia,the kings, have 4409 points from playing even fewer matches,34,so their rating is 130. Had Australia,or South Africa, played the same number of matches as India, in the same period, the gap between Australia and India, South Africa and India,would be even larger. See the huge gap betwen Number One, Australia, and the rest. I am amused that India should even think they can be Number 2.It is also amusing to see how a single win over Australia is celebrated as if it is like conquering Mount Everest! Yes,it probably is,because Australia is so good. I would also remind all that "one swallow doth not a summer make". South Africa have been beaten, time, and time again, both home and away, by Australia.

  • POSTED BY hari_krish86 on | December 21, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Great and a famous victory for SA. They have continued their momentum this year into this series. Being an Indian, i enjoy this victory just for the reason that the victory India achieved in their home against Aus is being continued by another good team else where... Only if Aus is attacked on all sides, can we see good competitive matches and determine who the real number one is... Thanks to SA for beating Aus and doing so well.

  • POSTED BY Thasneem on | December 21, 2008, 13:25 GMT

    Its great to see SA win. Two noticeable things in this match, one SA did not panic and they doesn't seem to have any. two pointing was animated, out of ideas. a dull face. lacking aggression b'coz of his own form. in all he posted a face of a king who is about to loose everything he was haded over before passing it on to his successor. its great they had the top spot for a long time. its even great to see competition at the top.

  • POSTED BY Nata on | December 21, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    "India is only a tiger in their own country. Outside, they are lambs." - Pop Corn - Which era of Indian cricket you are following mate? Aussies are on decline and accept the fact. It is all a cycle, the fact that they are losing more only shows the amount of great work done by gems like Warne, McGrath and co.

  • POSTED BY Victorian-Roo on | December 21, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    Hey popcorn....if you're saying that the Indians are lambs outside their country. Then lemme tell you that the Aussies are worst than that then. India was robbed of a victory at Sydney earlier this year else we would've beaten the Aussies 2-1. Anyways we defeated them in the ODIs so that means if the Indians are lambs...then the Aussies are kittens to have been beaten in the 1st 2 finals itself. Ricky Ponting was always found jabbering way too much about his team's superiority and asking other teams to match them up, that is, when Warne, Langer, McGrath and Gilly were there. Look now...his ordinary captaincy has been brutally exposed. He doesn't have the skills to make his team do wonders for him like Warne did in the IPL. And Brett Lee was always a different bowler whenever McGrath wasn't bowling from the other end. Too bad for the Aussies now. The faster they get used to this, the lesser pressure they'll exert on themselves.

  • POSTED BY kurupji on | December 21, 2008, 13:28 GMT

    A very memorable victory indeed, Congratulations to South Africa. In fact, as an Indian, I was more engrossed in this SA-OZ match than the India-England match. I am sure Ricky Ponting and his guys will come back all gun firing in the next two games and that's what we cricket lovers want. May the best team win the series.

  • POSTED BY kharkov on | December 21, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    Well done smith and co.Their era is over nw.India started in january in australia and in india.The proteas vl do the work complete