Smith happy with 'good energy' in the squad
South Africa captain Graeme Smith has praised his team's efforts in sealing the five-match ODI series against Australia with a 61-run win in the penultimate game in Port Elizabeth. The victory helped them maintain their supremacy as the No. 1 one-day side, but Smith was more excited about the prospects and talent that came through in the four matches.
"I think there are some really exciting players coming through," he said. "Everyone's contributing with bat and ball - there's a really good energy in the squad. We just need to keep our feet on the ground and take one step at a time."
He singled out the batsmen for special praise, in particular Herschelle Gibbs, who scored a match-winning 110 and AB de Villiers (84). "Obviously we wanted to play well and win the series here," he said. "I think the batters did a superb job.
"Again in our top four we got one really big partnership and it was nice to have someone to go on and get a hundred as Herschelle did. He's been getting a few starts, so it's nice that he cashed in. He played beautifully, I think he played a sensational innings.
"I thought de Villiers was also outstanding. We then needed someone at the top to go on and make a big hundred, but we didn't really have that."
Smith admitted that he was surprised with Australia's decision to field first in the crucial match. "It is a bit unusual for Australia to bowl first in big games," said Smith. "But once we posted 317, we were always confident.
South Africa posted 317 for 6, which was followed by a spirited Australian chase before Dale Steyn derailed them with 4 for 44. "At 129 for nought, we were a little bit nervous, but the boys did really well and showed a lot of character. It was another very good day for us," said Smith.
The win allowed South Africa to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series but Smith indicated that there would be no letting off in the final match at Johannesburg. "We'll look to finish the series on a high note at the Wanderers and if we do make it 4-1, then it will really make a top-standard series for us."