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Wisden CricInfo staff
September 8, 2003
"Throughout my short career to date this is my best Test victory. [South Africa] were 362 for 4 after the first day on a good batting pitch, and to show the character we did and come back was a fantastic team effort. Steve Harmison was fantastic and Martin Bicknell on his home ground was exceptional."
"It's just been a great gig and a great game of cricket for all of us. I've worked hard throughout the whole series. There have been some tough wickets and things had not gone my way but I worked hard for this and will enjoy the moment. I still had to fight hard, I did not play all that well for the first hour. I needed a bit of luck but that's the way it goes."
"I'd like to have had 700 in the first innings. The run-outs didn't help, and one or two little things go against you, but that's Test cricket. I don't think we're chokers. England played good cricket in this match. But at Headingley [where South Africa won the fourth Test by 191 runs after being 21 for 4 and 142 for 7] we fought back well. England are allowed to play good cricket but it's obviously disappointing not pushing on from 2-1. Test cricket is about pressure and we didn't cope with it in this match. "England batted superbly on what was a good Test wicket - one big partnership up front really set the tone of the innings and then Freddie [Flintoff] came in and took the game away from us. "It's been a hard-fought series, neither side has wanted to give an inch and hasn't given an inch. You've had to fight for everything you've gained. I thought my boys had a fantastic series. Three months away from home, they really fought hard for the whole series and put up a fantastic performance. "We have to learn to be a bit more ruthless. But apart from this match, when we've got into trouble, someone's got us out of it and that's given me a lot of satisfaction."
The retiring Alec Stewart
"I said before the Test it was not all about Alec Stewart. It was the perfect sendoff and I wish the team all the best for the future. There was some good batting, some good bowling and it was an excellent wicket here. "Obviously that debut [a win over West Indies in 1989-90] is still clear in my mind. To start and end with a win is perfect. I won't forget Barbados, the Headingley win to beat South Africa last time they were here, and the series wins in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. "I'm going to enjoy the next few weeks and finish the season with Surrey. Then I'll put the cricket kit away and get out the golf clubs and the Chelsea shirt. I've had some good offers, a good one from here at The Oval. I've got some things in the pipeline."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper