February 8, 2002

Pollock praises team for comeback from adversity

Winning the one day finals in no way makes up for being thrashed in the Test series but South African cricket captain Shaun Pollock sees it as a sign his team can rise above adversity.

South Africa, after being thrashed 3-0 in the Test series by Australia, came back from the brink of disaster in the one-day series to win the best of three final 2-0 against New Zealand.

He said the one-day triumph, which came with $70,000 in prize-money, didn't make up for the Test losses.

"I don't like to link the two - they are two different forms of the game," Pollock said.

"But it was an enormous effort to come back from the defeat in the Test series and turn it around to do well in the one-dayers.

"It's all about how you deal with adversity and I think the guys did that the best way they know how, to come back with victory in the one-dayers."

Pollock admitted there was a period when his team's one-day crusade threatened to fizzle out.

Midway through the series, the Proteas had just lost a double-header in Brisbane and were then routed by Australia in Sydney, making just 106 batting first.

"The turning point came after that weekend when we lost three games in four days," Pollock said.

"We went to Adelaide and in team discussions I asked everyone to stand up and be counted and the guys have done that in the latter part of the one-day series and the finals."

While the Proteas finished the series strongly, Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming admitted his side "petered out" in the final two weeks when his side lost five games in a row.

"Our energies were well spent early with some good performances," Fleming said.

"As we went on we couldn't really maintain momentum.

"A couple of injuries and couple of poor performances and things got on top of us."

Fleming said his side suffered from making "crucial mistakes against a team that's had us under pressure for some time...we just keep failing under pressure".

South Africa has now won 14 of the past 15 matches against New Zealand for a 22-8 record overall against the Kiwis.

He said his team struggled to put together 100 overs of solid cricket against South Africa.

Fleming said one of the Proteas' main strengths was the way they played New Zealand's slower bowlers like Chris Harris and Daniel Vettori, who had been able to dominate the Australians.

He added that man of the match Jonty Rhodes was "exceptional against us in this series".