South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 5th day November 21, 2011

Smith blames defeat on second-innings stumble

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Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has said that his team needed more runs in their second innings to push their opponents out of the game. South Africa were bowled out for 339, but it meant that Australia had to achieve the highest-successful chase at the Wanderers. Australia went on to score the required 310 to square the series, but they ended up scraping home by two wickets in a thriller.

"We were set up quite well after the AB [de Villiers]-Hashim [Amla] partnership and we needed to form one or two more partnerships that (fourth) morning," Smith said. "Losing four wickets in that session set us back. That was the time we really needed to put the knife in and make it count and take the Test out of their grasp but we didn't." South Africa lost all their remaining recognised batsmen - de Villiers, Amla, Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher for just 29 runs, leaving their tail exposed to Australia's attack.

On the whole, it was a symptom of a greater concern that affected the team throughout the series: their inability to execute the knockout punch when they had Australia cowering near the ropes. "There were times when we could have kept our concentration levels up a little more and maybe capitalised on a really good position," Gary Kirsten, the South Africa coach, admitted. "There's an importance to getting into that position and then being able to concentrate through a longer period of time."

In their first innings, South Africa were set for a big total at 241 for 4. Six wickets tumbled for a mere 25 runs as they crashed to 266 all out. With the ball, they had Australia stuttering at 215 for 6, with 95 runs left to win, and allowed Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson to tug the advantage Australia's way.

Smith however felt the bowlers gave their best in defending the total. "I thought we bowled well today in particular, especially that two and a half hour session upfront," he said. "We asked a lot of questions and we beat the bat a lot."

Both Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey had been dismissed before tea, leaving South Africa in a fairly commanding position. With conditions remaining seamer-friendly till the end, Smith banked on swing bowler Dale Steyn and rookie Vernon Philander to finish the job. Philander looked to cap off a dream first series in Test cricket, after taking a five-wicket haul for the second time in as many matches.

He threatened throughout and proved his enormous progress in the last two seasons of first-class cricket. The conditions were hardly alien to him as he made use of seam movement. "All surfaces are conducive to me," Philander said. "I rely on good line and length on the fourth stump and so I can nip it away or nip it back. That comes into play on most wickets all over the world."

When even that could not clip off the tail, Smith turned to legspinner Imran Tahir in the final overs with Australia needing just five to win, in a moment of innovation not seen before in South African cricket. "I knew it was a brave call," Smith said. "I felt [Patrick] Cummins had stood up quite well to the pace and I felt there was an opportunity for Imran. It would have been a wonderful story for him and for us and he almost did it."

Tahir had an lbw shout against Cummins that was ruled not out which was reviewed. Replays showed he was struck outside the line of offstump and the decision stayed with the umpire. "Umpire's call is a pretty marginal thing these days," Smith said. "It was a gut feel to use Imran. I was thinking about it for three overs, it took me a few overs to get there."

For Smith, South Africa's major concern is the ability to close out a game, which, if they had done this time would have given them their first home series win against Australia since readmission. "We certainly had our opportunities to take the game away from Australia," he said. "We have to take responsibility."

Kirsten, however, reflected on the positives. "Both sides let it slip and pulled it back brilliantly," Kirsten said. "The one thing I have been impressed by is the resilience of this team. We showed that we could pull it back."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on November 23, 2011, 21:50 GMT

    Personally , I'm not going to read too much into the fact that SA lost the 2nd test. As I (and many others) have said before it was a shame that it was just a 2 test series. You'd usually say that the team winning the 2nd test has the momentum but we all know it doesn't always work that way. Also , I believe the last period when the 2 teams played a home and away series close together, SA did better in Australia than they did at home. Any team with a bowling attack consisting of Steyn , Morkel,Philander and has batsmen the calibre of Amla , De Villiers , Kallis etc is a potentially very dangerous side. I fancy our chances but I'm not saying that because we beat Australia in Australia last/this year and Aus drew with SA in SA that we'll beat SA comfortably

  • A_Vacant_Slip on November 23, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    @Marcio - @indianzen is talking from out of a place it is not normally considered proper to talk from..... and not for the first time either.

  • ranjit.sg on November 23, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    @5wombats: Haha,thanks man. But you know what? Sometimes it's actually fun watching the Indian and English fans have a go at each other! ;)

  • Marcio on November 23, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    @indianzen what a load of tosh. Tahir bowled really well. Australia have excellent players of spin - Kawaja, Clarke, Ponting, Hughes, Hussey. They also just won in SL, in both ODIs and tests.

  • jaykdane81 on November 22, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    @5wombats... looks like you've been watching cricket for about 5 decades... why do you squeal with delight when England's hold on the Test and T20 ranking is just a new/first-time occurrence. If the Indian fans have been hiding for 3 months, don't you realize that the Barmy Army were the butt-end of every joke, for most of your cricket-watching lifetime, with nowhere to hide.... So save your breath, you will need it aplenty, next November....

  • 5wombats on November 22, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    @ranjit.sg - starting during The Ashes this time last year a relentless wave of trash-talk began from certain india fans (not you, I hasten to add - you're one of the good guys) directed at, well, England. Once india started losing - all the big talk stopped because all those "certain fans" disappeared, for some reason. Now that 3 months have passed all the big talkers have returned; and they seem to have had a memory wipe. You know what; "you seem to be following the path of some of the Indian fans in the way you belittle the opposition" - you're right. From now on the wombats'll be reformed characters...... :-)

  • indianzen on November 22, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    if ponting is out, all the other batsmen will perish for spin. SA did not have quality spin and thats why Aus won the 2nd test and the 3rd ODI.

  • SDHM on November 22, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    I thought Smith's captaincy in the last session was pretty awful to be honest. He gave away singles like gift wrapped presents and, I think, just expected Dale Steyn to do the business as he so often does. Well, Steyn's allowed the odd below par performance, and a back-up plan wouldn't hurt for when they come along. That said, Australia showed tremendous character to get over the line - the minute Clarke was out so early, they had no real right to win the game. There's a long way to go until they're the Australia of old, but this is the type of result that can go a long way to restoring slightly battered confidence.

  • thebigone on November 22, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    2nd innings stumble write 1st innings stumble in so far as rash shots. if they had batted as per test and not t20 or 50 over format. they could have had a score of 400.which on that pitch would have been a winning score

  • thebigone on November 22, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    47 all out great batting line up one to be feared

  • JG2704 on November 23, 2011, 21:50 GMT

    Personally , I'm not going to read too much into the fact that SA lost the 2nd test. As I (and many others) have said before it was a shame that it was just a 2 test series. You'd usually say that the team winning the 2nd test has the momentum but we all know it doesn't always work that way. Also , I believe the last period when the 2 teams played a home and away series close together, SA did better in Australia than they did at home. Any team with a bowling attack consisting of Steyn , Morkel,Philander and has batsmen the calibre of Amla , De Villiers , Kallis etc is a potentially very dangerous side. I fancy our chances but I'm not saying that because we beat Australia in Australia last/this year and Aus drew with SA in SA that we'll beat SA comfortably

  • A_Vacant_Slip on November 23, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    @Marcio - @indianzen is talking from out of a place it is not normally considered proper to talk from..... and not for the first time either.

  • ranjit.sg on November 23, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    @5wombats: Haha,thanks man. But you know what? Sometimes it's actually fun watching the Indian and English fans have a go at each other! ;)

  • Marcio on November 23, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    @indianzen what a load of tosh. Tahir bowled really well. Australia have excellent players of spin - Kawaja, Clarke, Ponting, Hughes, Hussey. They also just won in SL, in both ODIs and tests.

  • jaykdane81 on November 22, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    @5wombats... looks like you've been watching cricket for about 5 decades... why do you squeal with delight when England's hold on the Test and T20 ranking is just a new/first-time occurrence. If the Indian fans have been hiding for 3 months, don't you realize that the Barmy Army were the butt-end of every joke, for most of your cricket-watching lifetime, with nowhere to hide.... So save your breath, you will need it aplenty, next November....

  • 5wombats on November 22, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    @ranjit.sg - starting during The Ashes this time last year a relentless wave of trash-talk began from certain india fans (not you, I hasten to add - you're one of the good guys) directed at, well, England. Once india started losing - all the big talk stopped because all those "certain fans" disappeared, for some reason. Now that 3 months have passed all the big talkers have returned; and they seem to have had a memory wipe. You know what; "you seem to be following the path of some of the Indian fans in the way you belittle the opposition" - you're right. From now on the wombats'll be reformed characters...... :-)

  • indianzen on November 22, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    if ponting is out, all the other batsmen will perish for spin. SA did not have quality spin and thats why Aus won the 2nd test and the 3rd ODI.

  • SDHM on November 22, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    I thought Smith's captaincy in the last session was pretty awful to be honest. He gave away singles like gift wrapped presents and, I think, just expected Dale Steyn to do the business as he so often does. Well, Steyn's allowed the odd below par performance, and a back-up plan wouldn't hurt for when they come along. That said, Australia showed tremendous character to get over the line - the minute Clarke was out so early, they had no real right to win the game. There's a long way to go until they're the Australia of old, but this is the type of result that can go a long way to restoring slightly battered confidence.

  • thebigone on November 22, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    2nd innings stumble write 1st innings stumble in so far as rash shots. if they had batted as per test and not t20 or 50 over format. they could have had a score of 400.which on that pitch would have been a winning score

  • thebigone on November 22, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    47 all out great batting line up one to be feared

  • ranjit.sg on November 22, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    @5wombats: I have always loved reading your posts, but of late, sadly, you seem to be following the path of some of the Indian fans in the way you belittle the opposition(more so when the team is India). Let me get one thing very straight: India has a pathetic pace attack,and even though they're backed by arguably the best middle order in the world(which as you know is on the verge of retirement - I don't even want to think of what'll happen to the test team once they go), it's not going to help if the bowling is incapable of taking wickets on a regular basis. And I'm not offering any excuses here! You'd do well to keep in mind that sensible cricket lovers do happen to exist in India too!

  • Amol_Gh on November 22, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    Those who say that SA won the first Test just by fluke or just by chance, should seriously question their own observation/analyzing power. The same goes for Smith-haters. The top 3 of the top 4 scoring batsmen are from SA including the **top two** (Amla, Smith). Similarly, the **top three** wicket taking bowlers belong to SA. SA lost the second test because of their own hara-kiri in their first innings playing vertical shots, dropped catches and non-performance of their wicketkeeper. I believe they won't loose a single match if they play to the basics, next year same time in AUS.

  • BDHUNTER on November 22, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    I think Boucher should have been more responsible in the 2nd test.............i think morne Van wyk can be the option................SA didn't able to win against ENG twice from a similar situations.....Their Bowler cann't bowl yorker in right time!!!!! Punter is the master againg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • on November 22, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    @5wombats---i have been hearing a lot from you and for some reason many of your posts remind me about some Indian posters displaying misplaced arrogance before the England tour....with Eng stepping out to UAE and SL do i hear the time clock ticking...!!!???

  • PiyushD on November 22, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    250 - 300 scores are no more safe scores in last innings, thats what has been proved in last few Test matches, It's just a little more difficult in Subcontinent pitches where the wear and tear is more of pitch as well as players due to various conditions.

  • Shhy on November 22, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    @Marcio.. Yes you are absolutely right, there was a plumb lbw decision against Ojha which was not given and that actually cost Australia the match as per your view.. But one thing which you have failed to remember is Ishant Sharma was wrongly adjudged lbw before that decision and hence its really silly to scrutinize each and every ball for the final outcome of a 5 day match..

  • on November 22, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Smith could easily have said they were lucky to win the first test after being bundled out for 96 in the first innings. Smith has the same problem as Ponting did as captain. He laments it when things don't go his way but never acknowledges some of his victories were fortunate. There were times in both tests when each side was in a very strong position and lost, so I think 1-1 is a fair reflection of the play. By the way, can anyone remember who won the one days games which should never have taken place so that we could have a 3 test series?

  • Marcio on November 22, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    I think people are being harsh on SA here. Remember, AUS had the first test in the bag, then 9 wickets and 21 runs later... Some might call that showing a bit of fight. SA fought hard here, as did Australia. I think Ponting's bloody mindedness was the key to the second innings, even though he didn't go on with it. Also, AUS have lost a WHOLE heap of close games in all formats in the last 3 years. Thank God they actually won one! Luck is a part of it. If Cummins had been given out LBW jus a few balls from the end, would the umpires have revered it if referred? I'm not sure, even though I think it was the right decision. I remember a plumb LBW decision going against AUS bowlers in the 2nd test in India a year or so ago - last wicket, one to two runs to win. How that was given not out I will never know. I still think the result of that test should have been reversed, so plumb was it. There's a fine line...

  • OutCast on November 22, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    @lawtonRatnam> you're abs right sir! Test cricket is all about conditions, and the batsmen have little to do with their skills. On a flat wicket Harbhajan could get 100 too... that's why American NFL type of games are best.. they test pure skills of players and rainy or snowy or windy, the game goes on....

  • 5wombats on November 22, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    @Meety; "would-of/could of again". We know that Australian phrase; doesn't it go - "coulda, woulda, shoulda, oughta... but didn't". This certainly applies to the way india played in England and, the way Australia played in the last two Ashes.... Still, you have india coming your way in a few weeks. That'll be fun to watch. They already have their excuses all lined up though; simply cut and paste from the 2011 4-0 whitewash. You reckon you can;" hear a creaky wheel nut on the Team England bus". Time to get a hearing test then. Or better yet - ear plugs; you are going to need them once india arrive in Aus! :-)

  • on November 22, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    This test ascertains that two top teams on sporting wickets can make for exciting watching. Pitchwise its Thumbs down for any pitch that provides for an uneven contest and all thumbs up for such sporting wickets that always had something for the bowlers and good batsmen were still able to make runs.

  • on November 22, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    The Pakistani bowling attack is something awesome. If England's batsmen can overcome them, I will admit that they are the best test team in the world at this time.

  • jonesy2 on November 22, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    this is the turning point. australia will be back at the top by next year

  • Rahul_78 on November 22, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    300+ is ALWAYS a good target you can set for opposition irrespective of all the factors in a test match. Sometimes you just have to accept that the apposition played well and applaud. It is for nothing called a TEST cricket, a true test of any cricketer worth his salt. Well played OZ and well fought SAF. OZ the deserving winners.

  • on November 22, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Luck plays a greater part in cricket more so in test matches than any other sport.From the toss of the coin to the weather. If the sun is out the batsmen generally make hay and if its cloudy the seam bowlers are on top.The skills of the players are only secondary.Conclusion ,cricket is a game of luck.

  • Amol_Gh on November 22, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    The biggest difference between a win and loss for SA in this series was the performance of their own wicketkeeper. It's big, big time Boucher be dropped. 500 career test catches are enough. And the smallest difference was the drop-catch off the bowling of Steyn. It not only robbed Steyn of a Five-wickets-in-an-innings but also robbed his opportunity to get 250 career wickets in the least number of matches (48) for a **PACER** and equaling with Lilee...and gave AUS a precious 30 run lead.

  • Meety on November 22, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    @5wombats - I see your out of the burrow again. "... Two - England would easily have got those runs perhaps losing just two or three wickets..." - you're playing would-of/could of again. Totally useless as it doesn't factor anything in except bullish expectation & unfounded current form! I do agree that the Saffas will put up a far better fight than the recent Indian team. The Saffa pace trio of Steyn, Morkel & Philander, & the ever reliable Kallis - will be extremely tough. No more just seeing of Steyn & Morkel now that Philander is on the scene. This should be a 5-Test series. I think England have other issues to worry about namely - on the back of a mediocre W/Cup & an ODI canning in India - how are they going to stop the ODI contagion, (Rob Steen's words, but I like the description), creeping into their Test cricket in SL & UAE? Good luck, but I can hear a creaky wheel nut on the Team England bus!

  • Itchy on November 22, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    @Jairam Amrith: Based on the way SL are playing at the moment, I don't think they are capable of beating anyone so don't count on England losing three times on to sub-continental teams (one who plays in Dubai and the UAE!).

  • Ross_Co on November 22, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    The post could apply equally to the Australians - both sides had both tests in their pockets at times but had it wrenched away by the opposition. A great series. I suppose that we Aussies should be grateful that a fair amount of SA's best players are actually in the World XI - sorry, England team. What a pleasure to watch two of the three greatest national teams (the other of course being India) going at each other head to head.

  • ajayrcs on November 22, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Wow what a thriller ! Test is the best format.A close T20 is like a three hour horror movie, A close ODI is a bad day where every thing happens in the end but a close test is that which can give someone a nightmare for five days. this match was a nightmare for me Very thrilling the only bad thing about this match was Ricky not able to score 100 Hope he will sore 100 in the upcoming series against KIWI and India Best of luck To RICKY PONTING

  • satish619chandar on November 22, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    5wombats knows only two things. .England are great in any condition.. India are flat track bullies.. They have only one away series win in Ashes Australia last decade and they themselves consider worldbeaters.. Silly to the core..

  • on November 22, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Good lesson for SA...They are next to Srilankan team never appreciate the opponents. Smith should step down from skipper...

  • jaykdane81 on November 22, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    just one bad series, only one, in England, and everybody is harping about it... how about the 51 in the West Indies.. and the 5-0 as recently as Jan 2007.. and the several years as whipping boys of world cricket... would love to bring those fond memories back, gentlemen. Let's see if the Poms can repeat this one-off occurrence against Pakistan in Jan....

  • jasonpete on November 22, 2011, 2:15 GMT

    @werner ,spot on mate,SA and Australia always do well outside in alien conditions but this England team is so much poor when they play outside England .SA team is significantly better than England team any day.It will be interesting series when SA play SA B team (England)next year.

  • Chris_Howard on November 22, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    You can't really bag SA without bagging Aus. It got hard to tell at times whether the objective was to win, or to lose! Both teams tried their hardest to lose. It was like a battle of the chokers.

  • the_blue_android on November 22, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    5wombats, were you hiding for the last 2 decades? All of sudden the english team wins a few series and I see your posts on how great the english team is. Wait till you play Pak, SL and India next year on non grassy pitches. You will go hide for another 20 years.

  • on November 22, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    England fans are crowing but between now and the next Ashes series they are going to lose 3 times against sub-continental teams, and this despite a team half-full of guys who quit S.Africa.

  • Vijay_P_S on November 22, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    @ 5wombats, you borrowed key players from SA and call that an English team? What a joke. Thank SA for their graciousness before you talk about beating them.

  • __PK on November 22, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    Anyone else worried about the state of tail-end batting in this series? Especially considering the keepers have been crap with the bat? I reckon Johnson's batting (and Haddin at the death) was real difference between the sides. That's why Aus can't drop Johnson - imagine a tail consisting of Harris, Siddle, Cummins, Lyon, coming in behind an out-of-form Haddin. Five out, all out.

  • OutCast on November 21, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    Hey Smith- your team batting potential is around 300 and you guys have made it. But your team bowling potential that took a blow today when legends did strike when it mattered the most... Remember, England won against India 4-0 while SA drew series against India, lost series against AUS (previous time)... if Smith is wondering they failed in the last innings, hey SA bundled up for 96 a week ago, lost ODI series against the same AUS & drew 20/20 as well... be happy Aus collapsed for 47 & you were able to sneak a game...

  • Riverwalk on November 21, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    Australia deserved to win. SA lost because their top 6 batters are not good enough against the stronger teams even in home conditions. They will find it near imposssible to win any test series vs decent opposition when the tail starts at 7. Boucher must be one of the weakest batters ever to keep wicket in test cricket. He is a number 9 but because none of the bowlers can bat he bats at 7. With Sri Lanka next up SA now have the opporunity to blood some younger players. Boucher must go as should Prince, Rudolph and Smith who is now just a flat track bully. If SA were to play this team vs England they will be whitewashed.

  • Humdingers on November 21, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    Undisputed chokers of world cricket (right up there with Sri Lanka)! Well done Australia - go the Green and Gold!

  • Meety on November 21, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    Well Pup can say that about Newlands & they also stumbled in the 1st innings, point being?

  • phoenixsteve on November 21, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    A great test match and a great result from an Aussie perspective - they really deserved to win and it was such an entertaining game - a great advert for test cricket. Although an England fan I enjoyed watching the Aussies win (there - I've said it!) and hope that Ponting continue his run of 'form'. Class is permenant remember! The newcomer Cummings had a dream test and is an exciting prospect if he can stay fit and focused. As for SA and next summer.... we'll have to wait and see. One thing for sure is that England won't be taking them lightly? But today belongs to the Aussies = who were magnificent!

  • dsig3 on November 21, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    These England fans, most of us here lived through the 90's so it makes it very hard to take your new found bravado very seriously. What, do you think everyone forgets how bad you were? You may be doing well now but it wont be long before you have some hiccups and then the doubt of the English will creep in.

  • Raju_Iyer on November 21, 2011, 22:28 GMT

    Here's hoping Gary shares with SA how India used to hold their nerve (eg Mohali test vs. Australia) to win such encounters...

  • Kooserbill on November 21, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Everybody is forgetting that the Aussies should have won the first test as well! 200 in front after first innings. The basic difference between the english and SA is that the english know how to finish a team off. If SA can't beat what is possibly one of the worst Aust teams of recent memory in their own backyard then what chance have they got of beating england. SA have got some good players (in Kallis's case a great player!) but their seems to be an arrogance there a lot of the time when if the truth be told they shouldn't have because they have never won anything. The Windies team in the 80's were arrogant as were the Aussies in the 90's and 00's but both of those teams earnt the right to behave like that. SA certainly haven't and on today's form never will anytime soon!!!

  • 5wombats on November 21, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    @Werner Rousseau & @Kabous Verwoed - SA are heading for a whole lot of hurt next Summer in England. If SA can't beat Australia at home, or for heaven's sake india! then it's time to be realistic. England have improved very considerably since playing on that delightful pitch the SA curators served up at Joburg in 2010 - you know the series - the one where SA went into the last Test so desperate for a win, the one where SA famously failed to put England away twice. Now SA have failed to put india away, and have failed to put Australia away, so this is not a one-off. Once you bowl a team out for under 300 in their first dig, the Test should really be yours for the taking. Don't believe us? Ask some Australians. Ask some indians too (England bowled them out 8 times for under 300 3 months ago). @Werner Rousseau; not too many people would agree with your assessment of talent levels. I do think SA in England will put up more of a fight than india though - SA significantly better than india.

  • RandyOZ on November 21, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    England will have their tail well and truly between their legs after the likes of Pakistan and SL crush their hapless batting lineup in the subcontinent. Highly overrated players like Bell will get shown up for how pathetic they really are (ie: when Warne turned him into his bunny), and I suspect only the Saffers will perform for them.

  • RandyOZ on November 21, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    @5wombats, your batting lineup wouldn't know which side to go out to bat for there. KP probably would still be at home. 3 wickets down? Don't make me laugh. England has one of the worst batting lineups I have seen. It's failures are simply covered by the bowlers. It must suck to see players like Shaun Marsh and Ussie Khawaja who are already better than any batsman in England. As for the bowling, if SA prepared a flat pitch your bowlers would get carted around the Wanderers just like they were in India! This is why you are really #4 in the world!

  • thebigone on November 21, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    5wombats without steyn sa are a moderate team. eng lost bowlers in oz and uk but the replacements came in and you could not notice any loss in power. i suppose the ozzies were similar to till cummings came in for them, without him i guess they would have lost.

  • on November 21, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    @Werner Rousseau really? tell me why does Kaliis have such a poor record against England and Australia, (his tons vs Aus were in DEAD RUBBERS,lol) and I remember durban ton vs eng was in innings defeat. WHAT IS THIS PROBLEM KALLIS HAS VS HIT-THE-DECK BOWLERS LIKE CUMMINS,FLINTOFF?? EVEN HALF FIT BRETT LEE TROUBLED HIM AT PERTH (YES THAT WIN IN CHASING 414, LEE BOWLED SOME NASTY BOUNCERS AT KALLIS BEFORE BREAKING DOWN,KALLIS DID NOT LIKE IT, CHECK CRICINFO COMMENTARY FOR THAT).FUNNILY I WAS SHOCKED TO SEE MCGRATH BOUNCING KALLIS OUT FEW YEARS AGO.

  • thebigone on November 21, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    smith worst captain of the current test nations. he gave the leggie his turn with 2 overs to go. if he had put him on with 9/10 overs to go, fair chance they might have won. but in the end the ozzies deserved to win.

  • jaykdane81 on November 21, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    @OhhhhMattyMatty: we shall see.. We surely will see... a win against a half-fit (no, a third-fit) side means nothing at all....@5wombats: wise words, after several decades under the pump, eh??

  • Fiery67 on November 21, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    Those saying SA choked are a little harsh. Prior to the series I thought SA are the better side & I still have that view, SA had the 2 most productive batsmen & 3 most productive bowlers in the series in terms of runs/wickets so the fact that the series was 1-1 to my mind means Aus were a bit lucky to draw the series & SA were unlucky not to have won, & I'm an Aus fan. Compelling series (but too short) made possible by to competative teams played on pitches with some pace & bounce which always makes for more entertaining cricket (good for strokeplay & gives all bowlers some chance). Long live TEST cricket.

  • Winsome on November 21, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    It was the first innings that wrecked it for SA. They played champagne shots all over the place, I could not understand what the rush was. 350 in that innings and it would have been goodnight for Aus.

  • Chris_P on November 21, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    Yep Smithy, rue all you want, but you got the breaks when the Aussies self destructed in the first test and your smile and grin was huge then. It's all swings and roundabouts mate. Take the good with the bad, give credit where it is due, after all, it was you who stated the pich was getting more difficult etc etc etc so how about some acknowledgment of the Aussie effort? At the end of the day, it was just another enthralling series between 2 very tough competitors. Too bad there wasn't more tests.

  • on November 21, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    What hurts most about Sa underachieving is that SA's players never get the credit they deserve. Kallis gets negleced in conversations about the best batsmen of his generation. Had he been australian or Indian he would be held in much more esteem.

  • on November 21, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    SA more taleneted than England. Its going to be an intresting series. Englad are dillusional if they think its going to be an cake walk. There are no mental barriers for SA when it comes to england that SA have with AUS. Also the best way to get an SA team to kick your behind is tell them they will loose.

  • on November 21, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    Easy cowboys. Write us off after our second test in a year? Next, watch how we up our game against Sri Lanka. Then come and visit. By that time our batting will be fine. And our attack will be more than enough for anything the British Isles can send in our direction. Would have loved to watch the English in action on Newlands last week. Steyn and The Vern would've mad the ball sit up and bark at them.

  • ste13 on November 21, 2011, 20:09 GMT

    Both tests were spectacular. However as said below, we've got another evidence that SA will never be no. 1 with this lack of killer instinct. Remember Australia of 1990's / 2000's - with small evidence of opponent's weakness they felt the blood and applied own measures. SA is not able to inflict this. Today Steyn was well below his best. Still, SA as a team make the contest interesting. Also, it was good to see new faces.

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on November 21, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    England will whitewash South Africa next Summer. I reckon 2 wins will be by an innings as well.

  • on November 21, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    Again SA Choke. How do you loose to a team whose only descent bowler is an 18 year old kid? Smith has never understood what choking is. It is losing when the expectation is that you should win. SA are never ruthless and never seem to take the game away from even poor openents but seem to want to play at the level the openent is. We choked when india was here, we choked when we beat aus in aus but the fall apart in SA, we choked against England last year.

    Until sa understand why they cannot perform when they are expected to win we will always be number two or three. Smith must go he has never goten this side to be ruthless and he never will. We need a new captain in all forms to bring new ideas and philosophy to the test team.

  • 5wombats on November 21, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    What a great game! But it does not reflect well on South Africa, who once again failed to win a series at home. Steyn has looked strangely off-colour, whilst Philander has had the returns that newcomers often have before teams work out how to play them. I did say that Australia would get up after Cape Town and go back in swinging - and that's how it turned out. But when you bowl out aside for under 300, and then get to 4/241 you really should be able to close out the match. Two things here; one - England would easily have bowled out any side on that pitch for under 300. Two - England would easily have got those runs perhaps losing just two or three wickets. SA prepared a pitch like that for the England Test at Joburg in 2010 because SA had to win the game - here I don't know why they didn't just prepare a totally dead indian type pitch to make it a high scoring draw and thus win the series. SA batting looks flakey - when SA tour England in 2012; It'll be fun to watch.

  • harshthakor on November 21, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    South Africa simply lacked the match-winning killer instinct in the end,so characteristic of them.(Like against England and India on their homesoil)They have a great pace attack but their batting middle order is vulnerable inspite of the likes of Amla,Kallis,Smith and De Villiers.With their superior firepower they should have won this test.Infact lack of consistency has been a major feature of the Proteas and after their epic win in the last game they could not win the series.

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  • harshthakor on November 21, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    South Africa simply lacked the match-winning killer instinct in the end,so characteristic of them.(Like against England and India on their homesoil)They have a great pace attack but their batting middle order is vulnerable inspite of the likes of Amla,Kallis,Smith and De Villiers.With their superior firepower they should have won this test.Infact lack of consistency has been a major feature of the Proteas and after their epic win in the last game they could not win the series.

  • 5wombats on November 21, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    What a great game! But it does not reflect well on South Africa, who once again failed to win a series at home. Steyn has looked strangely off-colour, whilst Philander has had the returns that newcomers often have before teams work out how to play them. I did say that Australia would get up after Cape Town and go back in swinging - and that's how it turned out. But when you bowl out aside for under 300, and then get to 4/241 you really should be able to close out the match. Two things here; one - England would easily have bowled out any side on that pitch for under 300. Two - England would easily have got those runs perhaps losing just two or three wickets. SA prepared a pitch like that for the England Test at Joburg in 2010 because SA had to win the game - here I don't know why they didn't just prepare a totally dead indian type pitch to make it a high scoring draw and thus win the series. SA batting looks flakey - when SA tour England in 2012; It'll be fun to watch.

  • on November 21, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    Again SA Choke. How do you loose to a team whose only descent bowler is an 18 year old kid? Smith has never understood what choking is. It is losing when the expectation is that you should win. SA are never ruthless and never seem to take the game away from even poor openents but seem to want to play at the level the openent is. We choked when india was here, we choked when we beat aus in aus but the fall apart in SA, we choked against England last year.

    Until sa understand why they cannot perform when they are expected to win we will always be number two or three. Smith must go he has never goten this side to be ruthless and he never will. We need a new captain in all forms to bring new ideas and philosophy to the test team.

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on November 21, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    England will whitewash South Africa next Summer. I reckon 2 wins will be by an innings as well.

  • ste13 on November 21, 2011, 20:09 GMT

    Both tests were spectacular. However as said below, we've got another evidence that SA will never be no. 1 with this lack of killer instinct. Remember Australia of 1990's / 2000's - with small evidence of opponent's weakness they felt the blood and applied own measures. SA is not able to inflict this. Today Steyn was well below his best. Still, SA as a team make the contest interesting. Also, it was good to see new faces.

  • on November 21, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    Easy cowboys. Write us off after our second test in a year? Next, watch how we up our game against Sri Lanka. Then come and visit. By that time our batting will be fine. And our attack will be more than enough for anything the British Isles can send in our direction. Would have loved to watch the English in action on Newlands last week. Steyn and The Vern would've mad the ball sit up and bark at them.

  • on November 21, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    SA more taleneted than England. Its going to be an intresting series. Englad are dillusional if they think its going to be an cake walk. There are no mental barriers for SA when it comes to england that SA have with AUS. Also the best way to get an SA team to kick your behind is tell them they will loose.

  • on November 21, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    What hurts most about Sa underachieving is that SA's players never get the credit they deserve. Kallis gets negleced in conversations about the best batsmen of his generation. Had he been australian or Indian he would be held in much more esteem.

  • Chris_P on November 21, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    Yep Smithy, rue all you want, but you got the breaks when the Aussies self destructed in the first test and your smile and grin was huge then. It's all swings and roundabouts mate. Take the good with the bad, give credit where it is due, after all, it was you who stated the pich was getting more difficult etc etc etc so how about some acknowledgment of the Aussie effort? At the end of the day, it was just another enthralling series between 2 very tough competitors. Too bad there wasn't more tests.

  • Winsome on November 21, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    It was the first innings that wrecked it for SA. They played champagne shots all over the place, I could not understand what the rush was. 350 in that innings and it would have been goodnight for Aus.