England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day

Smith savours 'wonderful' triumph

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 20, 2012

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Smith was breathing a sigh of relief after South Africa secured a 51-run victory at Lord's to rise to top the world Test rankings. They were given a scare during the final session, as Matt Prior and Graeme Swann had a dart before the second new ball, but they held their nerve and Vernon Philander finished the series with two wickets in two balls.

"It was a top Test match, the wicket played its part and both teams played well," Smith said. "We really had to set up the game and work hard for that. There was some great batting from Matt Prior and Graeme Swann, some great shots, to put us under pressure and it was wonderful to come through.

"I stayed with the belief. You do start to have nervous moments but you just have to stay focused and know that they would have to do something spectacular. Vernon got it perfect."

Andrew Strauss had admitted England were outplayed in all departments during the series and Smith pinpointed South Africa's ability to post big totals - led by their 637 for 2 at The Oval - as a key part of their success.

"We are able to post totals and build partnerships to get scores on the board which allowed out bowlers a little more freedom," he said. "It allowed them to attack and get the rewards. We caught well, too. It's a long time to stay focused and deal with the pressure. To have won 2-0 is a great feeling."

During the presentation Smith carried a hastily scribbled message to Mark Boucher on his shirt. 'We miss u Bouch' it simply read after the wicketkeeper had been forced to retire during the early days of the tour when he sustained an awful eye injury at Taunton.

"I know that he is watching," Smith said. "It's a message from all of us. He's been an integral part of Proteas for 147 games and this was meant to be his 150th Test. We just wanted to let him know he was with us here today."

Looking ahead, Smith acknowledged that it would not be easy to hold on to top spot, as England have spent the last year finding out, and wants South Africa to develop a strong squad of players.

"We need to have a strong base so when the wind blows we can handle ourselves," he said. "We need to increase our bowling depth in case we get injuries and have players who can come in and perform. These guys have built a formidable unit but we have Australia next and that will be an awesome challenge for us. Hopefully we can push forward and take control."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Robbs on (August 22, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

@popcorn ... i love how the aussies are speaking up right now ... wait your turn ... we on our way hahaha. Waiting to unleash your weapons ?? and what will that be ?As for current form mate .... well lets be honest ... for a while now .... Aussies really have nothing on SA. I think once again everyone is forgetting that the difference with this SA side ... is Gary Kirsten as our coach. In his short time as coach ... we can see the huge difference already. Do you honestly think we not going to come down under prepared ?? hahaha .... we ready and waiting mate !!!

Posted by popcorn on (August 21, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Welcome to the Gabba,Saffers.We're waiting to unleash our weapons.We're Number 2 currently. Only currently.We try harder. And we'll be Number One by this summer.

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (August 21, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

Eng minus KP (I hope) will settle, rebuild and be back in the no 1 position within 12 months. After we've beaten India in India, we'll gently remind the Aussies of how far they've sunk in back-to-back Ashes victories and look back on this magnificent series against the Saffers as a minor hiccough along the road to excellence. No need to run around like headless chcikens and hold a review, just time for quiet, calm, steely reflection and a cold drawing up of plans.

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (August 21, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

Australia have as much chance of beating the saffers than getting more than 1 gold in the Olympic swimming pool.....Can;t wait for the Aussies to unearth some decent talent so we can have a decent Ashes contest but sadly that remains a dream for years to come.

Posted by Smahuta on (August 21, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

Well done Proteas. Next stop Australia, time to teach them how to play in their backyards before we are witnessto a boring ashes marathon of teams ranked 4 and 5. Its time the top 2 teams had a minimum of 5 matches when they meet each other.

Posted by Daniel_Smith on (August 21, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

Well done to South Africa for beating England fairly and squarely. They played the better cricket, batted, fielded and bowled much better. England competed well in the last two tests but we were just not good enough.

Well done South Africa.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 21, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

When Australia beats South Africa we will return to our rightful place as #1

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 21, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

Mark, what happened to Fortress England? Smith has put another English captain (the 3rd) to the sword.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

South Africa have shown and proved to have an incredibly well balanced side.The proteas batting, bowling and fielding was exemplary of a world class #1 team.This team should go on and retain the top spot far longer than England did and The Australians will have it extremely hard to match this side come their series. well done proteas, excellent performance, it could have been a 3-0 win but for rain and KP at Leeds

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

A lot of SA's success in the past 12-18 months seem to be due to the emergence of Vernon Philander and Hasim Amla. These guys have taken Test Cricket to a new level with their terrific peformance. However, wonder if a genuine swing bowler like Philander will be able to match his past performance in the sub-continent pitches or even in Australia where Pace and Bounce are more relavant than Swing. Not saying that he will be flop but it would be interesting to see if he can get the same strike-rate like he has over the past 18 months. Anyways, Good Job SA. Keep it going if you can!!

Posted by S4CHIN_IS_GOD on (August 21, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

@chris sun - I think Aussie sun has got to your head. Pattinson needs to play a full series 1st. As we learnt with India, coach makes a big difference. No more bowling coach of Ind and SA series anymore. Cmon Steyn and Philander vs your lot. Your dream of being no.1 gone mate. Your talent looks dry. Bring in Brad Hogg in T20. Pathetic. Learn how to respect the champs. Currently SA is no.1, they deserved to be there. on the other hand Australia, mate your lot are pathetic in each form now.

Posted by sawifan on (August 21, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

@IronCobra... wind forward and look at the too most recent SAF v AUS series. A series win to AUS and a drawn series. Whilst i'm not in the belief it will be a whitewash, a similar AUS team to this recently drew a series (albeit 2 matches, and yes.. 47!!!) with this SAF team. I still think SAF will probably pipped AUS at home, but it will be tightly fought. More so than this series. And fans of team IND. You need to stop living in the past. Look at the last few home series that IND have had against SAF and ENG, and you'll see they really weren't the flogging you guys make it out to be. Spinning tracks may be fine, and ENG were exposed by PAK. But PAK had Rehman and Ajmak. Who do you have? IND fans should not get complacent due to past glory as we AUS fans did prior to the last Ashes series. Anyway, Test cricket is looking as interesting as ever, and thats a great thing in my books. Congrats SAF, well deserved! And well played ENG while it lasted.

Posted by t20-2007 on (August 21, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

@east_west...nothing to learn from England...except how not to shot you own foot...aka KP episode

Posted by BigDataIsAHoax on (August 21, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

@Chris Sun: Wind back and take a look at what South Africa did to Australia in 2008-09. Australia is going to get shredded. Be prepared.

Posted by dsig3 on (August 21, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Well done to SA. Great team to watch, looking forward to playing against you. @Chris_Sun I might agree/hope you are right with your sentiments, but this is really SA's day not ours. They earned it, there will be plenty of time before they get to Aus for gamesmanship, but today its all about them.

Posted by Robbs on (August 21, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

@Chris Sun ... you got to be kidding right ? writing off SA bowlers so early ? whilst i remind you ... we have the no. 1 & 2 bowlers in the world in Steyn and Philander not forgetting Morkel in the top 10 as well. Philander i doubt will struggle in Australia .. similar conditions to SA. As for our batsmen .... Amla, Kallis and De Villiers in the top 10 rankings as well ... dont really have to say much about Amla as well as Kallis .... their reputations speaks for itself. It will be a good contest as always with Australia ... but they no more the mighty Australians of the 80s and 90s that everyone once feared. Coach Gary Kirsten is doing an amazing job with this team and is giving this team belief ... so yes ... we will be ready for the Aussies ... like you say ... bring it on !!

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (August 21, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

Kudos to SA for being no:1. But the matter is how long they can hold. Definitely better than what England did. But can they overcome India first and Australia second to be the longest period of no:1 ?

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (August 21, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

Well done Smith and the Saffers for a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win. As an Eng fan listening yesterday on TMS when Prior and Swann began to get close part of me was thinking Eng didn't deserve to level up the series. It would have been a travesty tbh. Saffers out fought and out thought Eng and played the better cricket by far. Was great to see the cameraradie in evidence in the Eng team though - bodes well for the future. I sincerely hope the ECB think VERY carefully when selecting 'foreign' players in future. The fact they've extended the qualifying period to 7 years is a good start but I;d rather have players who want to play for England than mercenaries who see Eng as an opportunity to develop their international profile for 'other' things.

Posted by jack_maxwell on (August 21, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

@chris sun - haha, nice one. irony is not just for the english. i wholeheartedly agree with you - i think south africa will trounce the aussies. it won't be easy, but sa will come good down under. our pedestrian attack will make the dynamic aussie pack look schoolboy. as for the batters, smith, amla, kallis and de villiers have absolutely nothing on watson, warner, ponting, clarke. i mean, even the aussie all-rounders are a league better - honestly, kallis or watson? watson every time, right? great comment.

Posted by London_Meistry on (August 21, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

@Andy1102, i agree with you 100%, the only time that ABDV can be releaved off his w.keeper duties is when there is someone who can seriously bat, someone who will grow in the position, someone like Quinton de Kock. Smith is the most succesful SA captain by far! The wonderful part is that he still have many years in him, i support CSA selectors' decision to ommit him from the T20 side, less is more! Now that Tests are his Prime focus, SA rose to the #1 spot in a flash! It was a team's effort! I comment the Poms for their fighting spirit, @least they didnt die wondering, the best test match i have ever witnessed, even better than the 1st one at The Oval. I was scared, with the show displayed by Bairstaw (immensely talented). I am proud South African, #ForverProteas

Posted by mthi4life on (August 21, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

The domination of WI and Australia will not happen this time because the top five teams can beat each other on any given day.But on paper the Proteas have a team that is well balanced and can compete on any conditions.They must not concentrate on being no.1 they must consentrate on playing positive cricket

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

I still think Michael Clarke's team will whitewash this team come November in Brisbane. Warner, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey will tear this world class bowling lineup apart with support from Cowan, Hughes and Watson. Philander will struggle as will Tahir, Morkel and Steyn will be pedestrian. The likes of Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Pattinson and Cummins and even Lyon will be a nightmare for SA. I really believe the Aussies will continue from where they left off when they squared the series against SA in SA and then Australia will reclaim the no.1 ranking. Bring it on.

Posted by o-bomb on (August 21, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

Well done to the South Africa side. They have been the better side in this series and thoroughly deserve to be rated number 1 at the moment.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Excellent test cricket...a memorable match of two top test teams..SA was surely superior but the effort England put in was admirable..both teams showed discipline and overall this series was a treat to watch and decider of the No. 1 test team of the world.....Smith showed his character as the best captain.steyn and philander showed intensity which make SA bowling attack better than England.

Posted by Riderstorm on (August 21, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

SA are a worthy No.1. England did put together a cohesive unit and produced some amazing results during their ascendency to the post of No.1. I believe that Andy flower and the team could correct the chinks in their armour and compete for the No.1 all over again. This series has been good to follow, if not the greatest. England could've done well without the KP saga. SA have the team and grit to stay on top. Last but not the least, Kirsten has developed a knack for pushing the team he coaches through that last mile. Kudos to that.!!!

Posted by Mervo on (August 21, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

Well done and well deserved. Two of England's SA-sourced players, Prior and Trott did well but in the end the stronger side prevailed. England really do need to start building more home-grown youth in to their planning, and stop using short term county recruits from SA.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

@Thomas Cherian: There is no replacement for Kallis. He is a once in many generations kind of player. You only have to look at all international teams during his career to know that no country has produced a player close to him in terms of all-round ability. Hopefully the selectors realise that and don't go in to a doomed process of trying to select a single player to fill his shoes when he retires. That is a sure way to end a young player's career before it has even begun.

Posted by Andy1102 on (August 21, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

I must compliment the English fans, you have been very gracious, thank you. @ Cpt.Meanster is 6 years unbeaten away from home not good enough for you? SA last lost a test series in Mar '09 (Home to Aus) and before that in Aug '06 (Away to SL) @Supa_SAFFA interesting thoughts but we already have a 3 (Amla) and I don't think ABD as keeper is ideal. I'd drop Rudolph to the bench have JP at 6 and bring de Kock in at 7. I know that de Kock is still young but he's super talented and I see it as an opportunity for him to develop around a strong team (ala Boucher many years ago). I think that we also need to develop the back up bowlers a little better.

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (August 21, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

@thebrotherswaugh As for Kohli battering England, well I suppose we'll find out how much he's improved when we get there but as for his performance in Australia, well he scored a lot less runs than England's batsmen did in the same conditions, averaging less than every one of England top order did in the Ashes.

Posted by SICHO on (August 21, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

@Maddy20, SA have won a Test series in India 2-0 at 1999/2000 tour and they have also won against Sri Lanka in SL. Don't remember that well but you can check SA's previous tours of SL.

Posted by East_West on (August 21, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

Morne Steyn Smit - you nailed it pretty good on us, indians! we were overrated and never deserved to be #1, and the way we surrendered to Austalia and England that too without a single fight tells the world that India was a fake #1. I am happy that SA took care of the business, but England really fought like #1 as well..this kind of fighting spirit was NOT EVEN there in India. For all the Indian fans, let us tell our indian team to LEARN FROM SA and England!

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (August 21, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

@thebrotherswaugh Well Bell, Trott, Anderson and Prior are only just over 30 so should have at least 5 or so years left in them. Swanns 33 but still a few years off if his Elbow holds out and Monty is a decent replacement . The only person close to retirement (35+) is Strauss, might get dropped first anyway. Who knows about Pieterson, England have to prepare for a future without him. On the other hand in the next two years or so SA will lose Kallis, Aus Ponting and Hussey, SL Sanga, Mahela and Samaraweera, Pak Misbah and Yousuf, India well take your pick! Basically I think this England team is better placed than most to improve in the next couple of years due to a mixture of young players and experienced players whose retirement is not imminent. The only other team well placed seems like SA but Kallis is a massive loss as a genuine allrounder.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 3:39 GMT)

Kallis adds so much to the SA side....they need to have an alternative for him otherwise it will shake the balance of the side when is gone or injured

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 2:02 GMT)

Congrats Proteas. they were no. 2 for a long time in different formats of cricket. but hard work and consistency pays. i think, kirsten's addition helps sa to be no. 1.good luck for odi n t20 cup.

Posted by thebrotherswaugh on (August 21, 2012, 1:55 GMT)

@Badgerofdoom, a couple of younger players in the squad doesn't make it a young team; that's the problem with an experienced team, a lot of your seasoned campaigners are 30+. You are not a young team, that will only occur when the ECB Trading & Import Co. begins its much needed rebuilding phase. Prior was your best player by a long way. Bairstow has had one good test - wait & see. Finn is a good bowler, but how long until he breaks down, the human body can only take so much, and carrying three other bowlers just puts too much stress on it. Strauss is a liability atm. Top order is shaky. Your next big test is IND, and let me tell you now, Kohli will murder your bowlers in their conditions. There's 4 tests from memory, he'll score at least 3 centuries. and one of them will be a big double. He's a gem, looked great in AUS without dominating, but that was against a far more lethal attack. The bad news is his game is continually improving. There'll be a lot of runs scored in that series!!!!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

England have a torrid time as no. 1 and must be relieved it's over. They began with a 0-5 drubbing in an ODI series in India (I know it was a different format but their strutting was taken down a notch right there), then a 0-3 drubbing in a Test series in the UAE (against Pakistan), and then barely drew a series in SL. Now they have been comprehensively thrashed 2-0 in a home Test series. Kudos to Gary Kirsten for taking a second side to the top of the Test heap.

Posted by aracer on (August 21, 2012, 1:14 GMT)

@Aneesmoha - everybody recognises SA are now the best Test cricket team, I don't think there's much dispute about that now. The reason people didn't recognise it before is because they weren't - or at least their stats were worse than other sides. They'd drawn too many of their series and matches to achieve that recognition. As for the number of matches played, the rankings take that into account - ranking is total score from all matches divided by number of matches played, so playing more matches is not an advantage.

Posted by aracer on (August 21, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

The SA fans should be careful about predicting the length of their reign - you need to at least draw the series in Australia to stay there (if Australia win that, remarkably they'll go back to #1). As for the India fans still bitter about losing the #1 spot to us, you could learn a thing or two from the gracious way England and SA fans have commented here and throughout this series. Well done once again to Graeme Smith and his team - an epic battle today.

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (August 21, 2012, 0:55 GMT)

Well congratulations to SA they deserve it, looking at their team it seem likely that all the other countries will have some work to do to overtake them. A chance for England to have a look at their team but one thing in their favour is that they are a young team and players like Bairstow and Finn show promise.

Posted by jr1972 on (August 21, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

Well done SA. Fantastic side who deserve their current no.1 status. Test cricket is alive and kicking!

Posted by maddy20 on (August 21, 2012, 0:01 GMT)

Not just England all other teams can forget being no.1 for a while now- I am guessing a min of 3-5 years. The fact that SA has won a test series everywhere except in Ind and SL show how good they are and its only a matter of time before they win in these two countries as well. A new look India will look forward to facing England and atleast rising to No.2 in the rankings.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

Everyone's a Smith fan again......Fickle unbelievers!!! I said on 3 March 2012 that people will see on tour of England, that they are overrrated. Was blasted out the water with stats of Cook, Strauss, Broad and Anderson. My Faith in Biff remained, your class and forceful Captaincy backed by the Team is undeniable.....winning away instead of multitude of home Tests, to buy no1 spot by pure numbers requires a salute! O'Captain my Captain!

Posted by Supa_SAFFA on (August 20, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

@ Athol Henwick: You're forgetting Faf du Plessis can spin. And Robin Peterson. Harris only turns in his sleep. Between Faf (leggie) and JP (offie), we could cover the spinner's holding role on the upcoming faster Aussie pitches while beefing up the batting in the middle order. Rudolph is worth more higher up the order and could be groomed as a future no 3 to replace Kallis. AB doing the keeping duties maximises the team's overall batting strength - I would just bring him in lower down the order in tests and have him specialise in batting and captaincy in limited overs cricket. We can afford a specialist keeper in limited overs cricket when batting depth matters less. My team for the tour to AUS: 1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Kallis 4.Amla 5.Rudolph 6.De Villiers 7.Du Plessis 8.Duminy 9.Philander 10.Morkel 11.Steyn. Tahir, Lopsy, etc. on the bench, depending on conditions.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

Test cricket is alive and well. Congratulations Proteas!! Not so much for being no 1 in the world but for the excellent 2-0 series win. This goes nicely with the 1-0 in 1965 and 2-1 in 2008 and more than adequately made up for the 1-1 draw in 2009 in SA, not to speak about the 1-2 defeat in 2004. A thorough entertaining series with SA the better team this time around. Eng should receive a pat on the back for their role and I must say I liked what I saw of the young Jonny Bairstow. He obviously needs to improve on his off-side play, but he is definitely one for the future. Finn will also get better and Onions deserves a pace in the team. Perhaps as somebody else observed Eng should appoint a new young captain and to build a new team. Prior should be looked at in this regard. He was no doubt Eng's standout player in the series and is perhaps the best keeper in the world now. He was excellent behind the stumps. Cook is your best batsman but I don't think he has the nerve for the lob.

Posted by sk12 on (August 20, 2012, 21:50 GMT)

@SICHO - no, hattrick does not span matches. It can only be from different innings of the same match.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (August 20, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

Congratulations the Smudger and the entire South African set up. It was a thoroughly professional display and a well deserved win. The England batting has been shambolic and unable to cope with a strong 5 man attack. England dropped chances and Capt Strauss didn't have an inspirational series either as a player or more importantly as a captain. This Philander guy looks something special and his line was impecable throughout this test match. The failures by Strauss, Cooke, Bell, Taylor were made to look even worse by spirited performances by Broad, Bairstow, Swann and Prior. For a brief time it looked like SA were choking again but Philander and the new ball did the trick. On this form they should give the Aussies a hiding in another bizarre 3 match series? How long will SA stay at the top remains the question? Personally I'm not too upset that England don't have to worry about the stupid Number 1 tag! South Africa were great though and I hope they & all their fans enjoy the title!

Posted by serious-am-i on (August 20, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

congrats SA. @Athol Henwick: Lol no Paul Harris my friend. He is a negative bowler like what Ashely Giles used to be for Eng. Spinner has to be attacking or at least bowl with a positive mindset not some one with negative lines. How do u think Faf is doing as a spinner ? I haven't seen much of him. SA cricket board is at least sending upcoming spinners/players to India to improve their skills, this could help SA stock with some more spinning options.

Posted by harshthakor on (August 20, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

Heartiest congrats to the Proteas who outplayed England in all departments of the game and achieved their greatest series win after returning to test cricket in 1991.Significant that two non-while playesr -namely Philanderer and Amla were the principla match-winners.Hope they stay at no1 for long.

Kudos to England for fighting till the end but in this eries they were hardly at their best and their bowling attack often looked depleted.S.Africa may well go along to join the great teams of the past with their great talent.

Posted by santosh89 on (August 20, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

I'm loving it ... exactly a year later ENG lost its top spot ... i would like to hear some comments from Swann , Naseer hussain and vaughan ... India lost its spot in away series but England lost it in his own backyard ...I was just waiting for this day to come not because India lost against England but because of their loud mouth attitude who ride on seventh heaven just after few wins ...Congrats South africa and SA certainly the best team at present with wonderful coach Gary

Posted by irfan897 on (August 20, 2012, 21:14 GMT)

G.Smith finished Nasser Husain's career in 2003 then Michael Vaughan's in 2008 and now its Andrew Strauss turn............

Posted by Blindedview on (August 20, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

Graeme Smith is well and truly a great now.His application is complete(Probably only an ICC trophy missing from his cabinet).I am a huge fan of this South african team.What modesty..what a performance!!!They have won over all hearts.It's about time cricket had a worthy no.1 in tests lovd by all.Great batsman,great bowlers and brilliant fielders.An absolute treat to watch.Hats off to you guys.Test cricket survives because of teams like these. And the english fought valiantly.Great heart showed by them.If they had held on to the catches,the result might have been very different.It isn't as bad as it is being made out to be.Twon champion teams fought till the end!! Thrilled!!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 20:27 GMT)

I can see SA staying at the top for some time to come. I reckon the side can afford to drop Rudolph to bring in a specialist keeper (De Kock seems a better bet that Tsolokile) and the team will be strengthened by this. Also, the fast bowling stakes are strong with De Lange, Lopsy, Parnell and co in the wings. The spin cupboard is a little barer but JP is not a half bad spinner and, if I remember, Hash also bowls some spin. Anyone know of some specialist spinners in the wings? Harris? Looking for a replacment for Kallis in a few years but that is a story for another year. For now, SA are number one and I think we can be the new force in world cricket.

Posted by yocasi on (August 20, 2012, 20:01 GMT)

Great test match! Congrats to Smith & his team on a job well done. Looking forward to Aus v S/Africa. Should be pace like fire.

Posted by SICHO on (August 20, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

Philander ordinary??? Yeah right! Call us chokers or whatever but we laughing all the way to no. 1. You gotta give England credit though, they fought til the very end. Australia here we come!! And by the way, Philander is on a hat-trick.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa. It was a wonderful gesture by Biff to Bouch. It is a shame that Boucher cd not be part of the last mile but he did play his part in getting them up so close. South Africa have really fought hard over the years to get here. It will be a challenge though to hold on to it as it is always relatively easy to reach but more difficult to stay on top. Enjoy the moment South Africa, for tomorrow is another day!

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (August 20, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

Well England should be complimented on fighting almost to the end, they showed a lot of guts in a losing cause. That was an absolutely epic Test match. Couldn't be more pleased that Philander made a lot of people who post on cricinfo eat their words in this game, those 63 wickets include some of the biggest names in batting in international cricket if you care to examine the scorecards. That is not to gloat about SA winning, just an objective fact, like saying Steve Finn and Bairstow have the potential to be really great players, which they do. It's time people gave credit where credit is due instead of trying to run down the opposing teams' players. At least the Aussies and South Africans can go back to being on opposite sides now, it was slightly disconcerting to have so many Aussies backing us ;)

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

We are #1. Well done Bokke.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 20, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

Very well played SA! Top team, great to watch, should stick around the top for some time now. Definately look the most settled, balanced test team in the world for now.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Congrats SA.. U deserve it.. well done.. go for the WC..

Posted by Yevghenny on (August 20, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

South Africa won all the key battles. Deserve to have won 2-0

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

finally we did it. its been 13 years of a long wait. south africa is the best team in the world , now OFFICIALLY. take that icc. look at the number of matches we have played. just a few more than newzealand. maybe that will change moving forward. the happiest day of my life. being a supporter since 1996 seen many a generations . this team is a speccial one. and this win goes to you guiness. u deserve this as a gift . your spirit was their with the team throughout the series.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

hats off sa graeme needs a big kudos in handling situatins of adversity 94 test matches as captain all the experience has borne fruits today never the chokers winners today most enigmatic captain see you in captaining 100 th match for sa this record is unbeatable

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (August 20, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

Well done. Now dont give it away to Australia

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 20, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

CONGRATULATIONS to team SA !!!! Well done guys. You thoroughly deserved this victory by thumping England 2-0. I hope you keep this status for more than a year and become something of a dynasty like the great WI and Aussies of yesteryear. Amazing team ethic, professionalism, hard work, and dedication has brought you to this threshold. Please don't throw it away. Oh, and please ask your board to schedule more AWAY tests so that you can test your true ability. We don't need paper tigers any more. Commiserations to England. Losing so badly on your own turf must be devastating. But then again, you never played like no.1. There will be tougher challenges awaiting you this winter. Hope you come prepared.

Posted by binojpeter on (August 20, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

To those who say that SA should have played 5 test series, I will say that it is their board's decision to give equal importance to all formats as they think that they don't want their players to be injured by overplaying one format and it need to be respected. Everybody respect England and Australian board's decision to give more importance to Test formats but that doesn't mean other boards have to follow that route. Every board is independent to take decision considering their player's interests as long as they adhere to minimum requirement mandated by ICC.

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 20, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

For me Vilander delivered. Thats only doubt on his skills for me. Steyn was n't getting wickets. Imran tahir with all his skills , he lacks LUCK factor. I would dump him not because he is not good ,he just do not posses luck. At one point of time when swann and prior going , i thought england can steal a win. Prior could have waited before he slogged...may be he felt his heart do not take the pounding if they lose by 1 run. That said england did fight , i never seen india fighting never. Only kapil dev times india fight. India do have kohli but kohli is a conservative player not the fighting type. Sehwag is lottery mostly. Only VVS laxman seen fighting when chips are down when he faces nice bounce. I do believe there will be many many close games between teams not just by weakness of opposition and i also see match up by astrology. I know matt prior play well today in advance. I prefer SA go with 4 bowlers with tsotobe against india and even australia.

Posted by windiesyouth.12 on (August 20, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

will SA be the new world beaters? definitely seems so. Probably THE BEST batting line up and a very impressive bowling attack who can all take wickets at any time in any condition. plus AB didnt even deliver in this series..

Posted by bigdhonifan on (August 20, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

As no 1 Test side: INDIA 22 mts, 9 wins, 7 losses, 6 drawn (win% 40.91) and ENGLAND 11 mts, 3 wins, 6 losses, 2 drawn (win% 27.27)

Posted by Aneesmoha on (August 20, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Hopefully now everyone will now shut up about the chokers label. And all those people on this site will finally recognise that SA are the best team in the world. And like I said before the series started if SA played as many games as england and aus have, they would of been #1 a long time ago. The much vaunted english bowlers made to look ordinary. Anderson ave over 40. The best ave belongs to KP @ 22. The english batting depth put to the test and they failed (except for today well done to them). Bring on the Aussies in november

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Congrats. You are the greatest team - not just only on cricket field - but as human beings too. You folks are the Samaritans of Test Cricket and deserved to be the best.

Posted by Narbavi on (August 20, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

So much for the talking, english fans bashed us like anything when we lost our no.1 ranking to them, but look at them, they have been no.1 only for 11months and in that period they lost 6 tests including a 2-0 humiliation on their own backyard!! Congrats to southafrica, they deserve this as they have been consistent for a long time!!

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (August 20, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

So finally the most deserving team in test cricket is #1 rightfully ranked team in the world now. Congratulations to SA for setting their goals high and achieving them. It took Greame smith 10 years to build #1 ranked team. I hope SA stays at #1 spot for more than a year now. England was boring #1 ranked team, the homeland bullies and finally the got what they deserve after dis respecting their legend batsman KP. Good job SA and i hope england should move far down in rankings where they belong. No biased here, it's just my feeling that england is not that good what they claim.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 20, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa!! Good team effort. World Number 1 team SA...enjoy , you deserve it.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (August 20, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

Well done to England on the fight they showed today, made it exciting when it could have been a procession. It was always a 'new ball' pitch but they still showed a lot of character. The best team won the series though and a drawn series would have been a travesty. Two good series to look forward to later this year - Eng v Ind and SA v Aus. Bring it on.

Posted by aracer on (August 20, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

As an England supporter can I be (one of) the first to congratulate SA on a job well done. You proved yourself the better side throughout the series, and are deserving of the number 1 status. Sadly England don't seem to be the team they were as recently as a year ago - I'd like to think that the team which beat India 4-0 might have at least made a better contest of it.

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