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April 5, 2006
Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, believes that South Africa didn't deserve to win any of the six Tests the two teams have played over the last four months in Australia and South Africa.
South Africa had drawn the first Test at Perth but subsequently lost the next two at Melbourne and Sydney during their tour of Australia in December 2005. Australia's two-wicket win at Johannesburg on Tuesday completed South Africa's first whitewash at home in over a century.
"Some of the Tests have been close, but I don't think South Africa deserved to win any of them," Ponting told SAPA. "I think we've been the ones who dictated the Test matches. We should have won at Perth, but South Africa put up a tremendous rearguard action to draw the match.
"Sydney would be the one Test they could argue that they were probably in front of us and the weather, and the series the way it was, dictated their declaration - but still we got the runs, for two or three wickets."
However, Jacques Kallis, who replaced the injured Graeme Smith as captain for the third Test at Johannesburg, felt that the results did not reflect how closely the two series had been contested. "I think we had more opportunities in Australia and if we had held on to our catches, we could have done better in the Tests in Australia - but we've come a long way," said Kallis. "We've made strides in Test cricket. We are still a long way behind Australia, but we are definitely moving forward.
"You always want to play the best in the world. It's been a long, hard challenge and to play against the best for four and a half months has been tough. You wake up, and you're playing against the same guys, and you've got to be up and ready for the challenge and if you are not 100%, you get nailed."
New Zeland will tour South Africa for three Tests in April and May 2006. "We've got a new challenge with the series against New Zealand. It'll be nice to see some black caps out there instead of the baggy green. So we're looking forward to that challenge," said Kallis. "There is the danger that we've been playing some very hard cricket, but we've got 10 days off, which means the guys can go away and get mentally prepared for New Zealand. It's a huge series for us. I think it's a series that could define our season. We're going to be taking it very seriously - it's a very big series for us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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