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August 26, 2008
Graeme Smith says South Africa's embarrassing loss to England was one of the low points of his career but he believes giving his players a dressing-down is not the answer. South Africa collapsed for 83, which was their second-lowest total in an ODI, and England took a 2-0 series lead by chasing down the runs within 15 overs.
Smith said the Nottingham disaster was not the worst defeat of his one-day international career, but it was not far off. "Outside of World Cup semi-finals this is right down there in terms of lows," Smith said after the match.
Despite his side's experience - Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs have each played more than 200 ODIs - Smith said the batting line-up misjudged the Trent Bridge pitch. Only three men reached double figures in South Africa's innings, which ended after 23 overs.
"We did not assess conditions well enough," Smith said. "We have got to look at ourselves and match the England team in the way we have matched in the time that I have been involved. All of us need to get together."
Three ODIs remain and South Africa must win them all to take the series. The first match was a closer affair, although again England's bowlers proved a handful for South Africa.
"This is not the time for excuses," Smith said. "We have been outplayed. England are playing with huge motivation and huge aggression. We have got to find out what the problem is - we have got a lot of experience and we have got to tap into a bit of that.
"We have had times on this tour when we have had to look at each other honestly and find out what mistakes we are making. Our rhythm and confidence is not right. I don't think reading the riot act is going to help."
Kevin Pietersen, searching for his first series victory as England's captain, praised Matt Prior for his part in the one-sided outcome. Prior pouched six catches to equal the wicketkeeping world-record for most dismissals in an ODI innings, then struck a brisk 45 not out to confirm the win.
"I am trying to get into him that it is really great to be on a wave but you have got to get to a level where you are cool and calm and deliver," Pietersen said. "[After being dropped] he could have gone and felt sorry for himself but he has done a fantastic job. He is a hell of a batsman."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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