South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day December 29, 2010

Poor batting cost South Africa - Smith

170

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has said their batting, particularly on the second day, cost them victory in the second Test against India in Durban. "We probably lost the Test match on day two. I don't think it was a 131 wicket. Getting bowled out for that just wasn't good enough," Smith said. South Africa bowled India out for 205 in the first innings, on a lively pitch at Kingsmead, before being shot out for 131. The 74-run deficit South Africa incurred proved crucial to India gaining a significant advantage leading up to the second innings.

Smith didn't think India's batting was necessarily better than South Africa's. "It's not like India's batting set the house on fire," Smith said. India were bowled out for 228 in their second innings, just 13 runs more than what South Africa managed in their second attempt. "They got slightly more runs than us, and I guess that's what's needed in Test match cricket."

South Africa went in to the fourth day needing 192 runs to win the match, with seven wickets in hand, a task that did not seem improbable because conditions were getting slightly better for the batsmen. The game was in the balance for most of the match, something that even Smith, who ended up on the losing side, appreciated. "It was tight going into today, and every day the game swung and was tense. That's what people want to see. Nobody wants pounded-out draws."

The closely-contested nature of the match may be why Smith showed few signs of distress after the defeat. He appeared to take heart from the fact that South Africa did not lose by an embarrassing margin. "They did slightly better than us at the key moments, and they won this Test match. We haven't played terribly, but we haven't played to our ability," he said.

South Africa have come under fire for underestimating India after they thrashed the visitors by an innings and 25 runs in Centurion and showed vulnerability on a sporting wicket. Smith dismissed those criticisms, saying his men were prepared for a fight back. "They're a very experienced team. We expected them to bounce back and they have. They played well." He also denied that South Africa were over-reliant on responsive pitches and the toss going the right way. "We hoped for wickets with pace and bounce. That's what we've grown up on. We haven't specifically requested anything."

Smith was not panicking ahead of the series decider which starts in four days time in Cape Town. "It's important not to get too emotional about things. We've played well for a period of time." South Africa have a proud record at Newlands, with nine wins in 14 games since 2000, and Smith was looking forward to the contest. "It's always a great Test match to play in, and being one-all in the series it's going to be even bigger now."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • stevebriggs on January 1, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    SAs are just fast track bully... they cant play cricket on any other pitches..

  • rohanblue on December 31, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    smith is over confident, thats why sa losingso many matches at home....

  • dummy4fb on December 31, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    Why is he being such a sore loser? the team doesn't shake hands because they lost the game...SA is a great team..no doubt about that..but they should stop behaving as sore losers and start behaving like champions.

    3 things..

    1. He complained about the turning track at Kanpur..then why are the pitches being made so seamer friendly in SA? Isn't that sheer double standards? Or just because SA doesn't have a quality spinner, they stopped believing that spin is part of cricket? The top 3 wicket takers are spinners!

    2. Sure, the 2 umpiring decisions were bad ! But if you could do so well with technology, why on earth did you get all out for 131 in the first innings ????

    3. Didn't SA have all the luck when India had lost the toss even in the 2nd match and SA bowlers got the best bowling conditions?

  • gmathew on December 31, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    @McCRYSTAL391...wake up its morning mate...dreams over.

  • INDIA_THE_BEST_END_OF_DISCUSSION on December 30, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    @JustOut, India will win the series 2-1. Kallis bowing down in the air already!

  • dummy4fb on December 30, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    Greame Smith has said that"using technology will avoid decision mistake"What the mouthful you have...You should better play natural games as a natural captain.Even umpire feels is a natural decision...There might some mistake in every 1000matches...You are the one using Hi-Tech technology...Now u better get an Alien game instead of earth games.

  • mak102480 on December 30, 2010, 22:09 GMT

    @McCRYSTAL391: You are almost funny.......not quite but you are trying. The fact is that had SA lost the toss in the first test, India would have already won the series 2-0.

  • INDIA_THE_BEST_END_OF_DISCUSSION on December 30, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    Hey MCRYSTAL, didn't I just say India is the best team in the world? I'm sure deep down inside you are also a BIG fan of India!

  • McCRYSTAL391 on December 30, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    INDIA WILL SURELY LOOSE 3RD TEST BY AN INNINGS & 155 RUNS.SACHIN WILL RETIRE THEN NEXT.

  • batfry on December 30, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    To continue from my earlier post on relative performances of the top 5 Test teams in the last couple of years (2009-10) and the concomitant debate over the validity of India's No.1 ranking let's take a look at how many of those wins were achieved at home and away. Better still, Let's cut to the chase and take up the team whose captain (Sangakkara - SL) has made the greatest fuss about the alleged speciousness of the Test Ranking System. Apart from the fact that Sri Lanka has won just twice the number of matches that they lost, it also bears mention, that 5 out of their 6 victories were achieved at home during this period, and a measly 1 away. Feel free to guffaw, therefore, at the Lankan captain's assertion that his team is more deserving of the No.1 position than India, who've earned 5 of their 11 victories away from home. But, Sanga is an honourable cricketer and he's allowed such flights of fancy. I just hope cricket fans know better.

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