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Wisden CricInfo staff
August 4, 2003
South Africa 682 for 6 dec (Smith 259, Kirsten 108) beat England 173 (Ntini 5-75) and 417 (Flintoff 142, Ntini 5-145) by an innings and 92 runs
On South Africa's performance: It was a fantastic team performance. The batting was superb and the bowlers did really well. They put in the hard work and were very disciplined.
On Mike Finnegan, the motivational psychologist working with the team: He's been working really hard on the mental side of our game. He joined up with us after the final. [And, to much laughter from assembled hacks:] He's from England.
On Makhaya Ntini, who shared the Man-of-the-Match award with Smith for taking ten wickets in the match: It was a superb effort by Makhaya. He always comes back from his bad overs and is always ready to bowl. He is superb and is an icon for the country.
On his bowlers, whose workload increased after Dewald Pretorius was injured early in the game: Their fitness levels were tremendous. They never once moaned. They just said "give me the ball".
On the dressing-room celebrations after the game: There's a lot of carnage. Lots of screaming and shouting, nobody really knows what to do. It's one of the best feelings I've ever had. Everyone is running around mad. It's fantastic.
On the third Test: It's going to be a huge Test. If we can win there's nothing stopping us.
We will celebrate tonight but be humble tomorrow.
On England's performance: We never got into the match. We have a lot to learn and a lot of hard work to do now. We have to pick ourselves up and put in a better display at Trent Bridge. I congratulate South Africa, but we were just not good enough over the four days.
We've just had a meeting and everyone held their hands up and said we're just not good enough. Our shot selection was poor, the disciplines with our bowling weren't right and our catching was not up to scratch.
On the road ahead: I've given them a talking to in the dressing room which was pretty down to the bone and maybe taught them a few facts which I thought they needed to know. Hopefully it will give them a gee up and get them ready and prepared for next Test.
On the captaincy: To get hammered in your first Test as captain, to try and lift the team for the next game will be a huge challenge for myself and I'll have to show huge character. I don't think we were as hungry as South Africa. I can't answer why and it is something that has to be addressed.
It's still a huge honour to captain your country.
On team selection for the next Test: It's easy for me to sit here and say of course we need a change but I'll sit down in the next 48 hours, do a bit of thinking, where I think we went wrong, where I think we can improve and try and come up with some sort of plan.
As to whether we look to the future or not, I don't know. This week I'll sit down and settle a few things with the selectors. At the minute I'm not a selector and David Graveney has been very good to say that, if I suggest something, they'll take it on board.
On the qualities an England Test player should have: First of all you need character, you have your good days and your bad days and you need a heck of a lot of character to bounce back . You need an immense attitude and somewhere there you need some ability. I genuinely think that to play at the highest level with the pressures you need a lot of character.
On Andrew Flintoff, who hit an entertaining 142 on the last day of the match: [His innings] will definitely give him a boost. His shot selection was outstanding, he picked the right balls to hit.
On Darren Gough, whose retirement from Test cricket is being speculated upon widely: If Goughie is going to retire he hasn't told me. He's had two years out of Test cricket and come back and bowled on two flat wickets. He'd probably be the first to admit he hasn't had the best of rhythm but he's been bowling against a guy in supreme form.
On the possibility of Graham Thorpe returning to the side: If he's right in his mind and personal life then I am sure the selectors will talk about him. He's a fantastic player.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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