South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day

Smith rues flatter pitch on day five

Firdose Moonda at Newlands

January 6, 2011

Comments: 127 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Smith, South Africa captain, felt that he had the time but not the conditions to bowl India out on the last day of the deciding Test in Cape Town. "I expected more from the wicket today," he said at the post-match press conference. "It didn't have much swing, like we saw on the first three days."

The Newlands pitch began crumbling on day four and was expected to remain tricky for batting. There was variable bounce on offer, which Morne Morkel made us of, while Dale Steyn gave everything he had and more, and succeeded in bowling outswing despite the conditions. Smith said that the two quicks, aided by Lonwabo Tsotsobe, could have used the help of an additional seamer to carry some of the load. "Having the extra seamer is a massive bonus. MS Dhoni has worked the whole series like this [with three seamers]. Having bowlers fresh is obviously nice."

South Africa had to juggle just three pace bowlers because Jacques Kallis' rib injury prevented him from bowling.

Smith was also hoping for a 12th man in the form of the pitch, which had cracks that should have worked to the spinners' advantage, but Paul Harris had no joy at all. "I expected the cracks to play more of a role," Smith said. "If you hit the rough, you got spin, but on the straight there wasn't much."

Even though Smith knew that with the mercury reaching 38 degrees for three successive days the pitch would "become a really good batting unit, as we saw against England last year," he still thought South Africa had the firepower to claim 10 wickets and was "disappointed that we didn't get close today and only managed to have them three down."

Still, he was pleased with how the pitch had behaved over the course of the match. "It's provided really good Test cricket. Compared to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which were roads, it was nice to play a series where everyone had the opportunity to do well."

South Africa have failed to register a series win at home for the third successive season but Smith did not see that as worrying sign. "We've played some good cricket around the world in recent times. You do want to be really strong at home. For two Tests here we played really, really well and for one we were poor."

That one was not the decider, Smith emphasised, but the Boxing Day Test that South Africa lost by 87 runs. "We were really disappointed with the way we played in Durban. There were moments were we needed to fight a little harder and India were better than us in those moments." Smith thought his team bounced back from those lows and laid claim to the key moments in Cape Town when they recovered from 130 for six to reach 362. "We showed a lot of character to get into a position to win."

The fact that they didn't win did not appear to irk Smith too much. "It's good for world cricket that the top four teams are competitive. We don't need to fool ourselves that we are better than what we are." Smith spoke as though a period of assessment for his team had ended and they were satisfied with the result. "The majority of our Test side has been very successful over the last few years."

In some ways, this series does mark the end of an era for the South Africa Test side. It is Corrie van Zyl's last series as coach of the national team. The next series is scheduled for September, against an Australia in decline and there will be a new set-up in place. "The next Test is nine months away and we'll have new coaching staff. Hopefully it will be someone who can challenge us and take us to the next level."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by AvidCricFan on (January 8, 2011, 19:01 GMT)

I was one of those who predicted 3-0 drubbing of India. It is amazing how India held up to draw the series. The main saviours were Tendulkar, VVS and Gambhir in the last match. The rest of the batting line up was mediocre. Dravid really needs to thinks about future. At 38 it does not better for the most. Shewag was a failure. He just proved his weakness on really bouncy and seaming tracks.

Posted by fkauser on (January 8, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

I think smith is becoming like ponting......or he was really upset with the pitch coz his best new ball pair could do anything .......India is always better in their batting some days u have to see ups and downs so on that day you cannot say India batting lineup is only good on the paper.....many people says India can bat only on flat...who asked to make flat track did India requested.....come on guys's a game the best wins....if you love winning than try to accept loss too...India was best in 3rd test and they showed.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 20:57 GMT)


I think you are out of your mind.The day 1 on centurion favours bowlers later on it became a flat track so that SA scored 600+ runs and in 2ndinnings india scored 400+ runs even SA batted in the 1st innings they wld hv scored less than 200 bcos its the nature of the pitch.

And i see you are a crazy guy you called it a bad day in SA office when they bowled out for 130 in durban despite indian bowlers hard work haha it sounds funny to me.In 2nd innings they bowled out for 200+ runs do u call it again a bad day in their office ?.Ii think you seriously consider your state of mind before commenting about a team.

Posted by Sal_CricFan on (January 7, 2011, 20:30 GMT)

"If we were playing India at home, and it was 1-1 we would be sitting in our dressing room a touch disappointed"

Shouldn't you be excited Greame with 1-1? If the score line reads that, you were able to beat India in India in atleast one out of 2 matches, so you should be excited.

Ane another advice for Greame is that in order to get to that number 1 spot, we need to have passion to get there. You need to take risks and show confidence in the talent you have in your boys. I believe all you needed was 240+ score for Indians to chase. That would have been tempting even for anyone to take a shot at. If you play your opponents out of time, you will never win tests like this, and neither you will get to that number 1 spot, Greame.

Posted by gerardpereira20 on (January 7, 2011, 20:25 GMT)

Justcricket9me, which world do you live in? And who made you an expert on pitch conditions, a flat track is a flat track for both teams although match conditions change day by day if not hour by hour.Let me run some facts by you between 2001 and 2010 India played the world champion Australian side 19 times results won 9 lost six admittedly four of those wins were at home against an Australian side in decline. India have beaten England home and away, beaten Pakistan home and away,beaten the West Indies home and away beaten New Zeland home and away,drawn with SA home and away and beat SL at home and drew with them away that is why they are number one. Another fact look at these stats Shewag test average 54.71 , Dravid test average of 52.75, Tendulkar test average56.95. Gambhir a test average of 53.10, Laxman a test average of 49.35, Ganguly a test average of 51.25, Kumble 619 wickets, Harbajan 393 test wickets and Zaheer 271 hardly flat track bullies

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

come on biff...truth is sa batsmen can't cope on green tops (durban) and the bowlers can't get 20 wickets on flat tops...

Posted by notspot on (January 7, 2011, 19:20 GMT)

This was a very hard fought and even Test series. I think India did really well to get the result they got. It was Kallis who managed to rescue SA on the fourth day of third Test, otherwise Smith would've been searching for even sillier excuses. I think everyone can see now that Graem Smith is a sore loser, for it must feel like a defeat when you set out promising 3-0 whitewash, and have to contend with 1-1 scoreline in the end. He should act graciously and accept that India proved in SA that they deserve to be No. 1 Test team.

Posted by GooiMielies on (January 7, 2011, 18:33 GMT)

First test: SA wins by innings

Second test: India wins by 87 runs. After some shocking umpiring decisions (De Villiers, Boucher) and Zaheer's not out lbw. That could have gone either way.

Third test: Tendulkar's played and missed about 30 times during his innings. Harbajan got bowled and the bails didn't fall off!!! SA could have had a much bigger lead and declared sooner.

People complaining about Smith...he made more runs that Sehwag in this series.

None the less a great test series between two very strong teams and extremely entertaining to watch. Long live test cricket!!!

Posted by tigerxxx on (January 7, 2011, 18:29 GMT)

"justcricket9me"...what happened to SA in the second innings at Durban...was that also a bad day in office? In 3rd test without Kallis entire team folded in both the innings...were those also a bad days in the office or is SA simply a bad office (sans Kallis)? The rankings speak for themselves...India are#1 and South Africa are a distant #2...excuses are not going to change the ratings.

Posted by GraemeSmithSenior on (January 7, 2011, 18:19 GMT)

Graeme Smith is the worst SA captain in the history of the game. He is treacherous, deceitful, arrogant and disrespectful of opposition. He should not be around for the next test in September. He works with the curator every night of the test match to either moisten the pitch or to get the pitch rolled as required for his needs. Being a Hershelle Gibbs supporter i am convinced of all the cons committed by smith. Its time South African board comes to know about his dirty tricks.

Posted by mishvik1 on (January 7, 2011, 17:22 GMT)

Smith's quips "If we were playing India at home, and it was 1-1 we would be sitting in our dressing room a touch disappointed" "SA wouldn't hesitate to give the tourists a greentop if they were looking to come back in a home series" And then Durban...........

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (January 7, 2011, 17:07 GMT)

Guys take it easy. India are flat track bullies. When they played and defeated Aus on Perth, Perth was a flat track. When the defeated Eng in Eng that was a flat track too. India cannot play on fast track like they did not in Centurian. No matter it was a damp wicket but they folded on 136. When SA accidentally bowled out for 131 in Durban that was bad day in office. When SA scored 600+ in centurian in was good batting, when India scored 400+ there it was a flat track.

Posted by tigerxxx on (January 7, 2011, 16:57 GMT)

South Africa play so less cricket compared to other major teams. Their players are hence less prone to injury and should be able to give their best performance most of the time. Still they are unable to win major titles. So I think it is no big deal to say they have maintained a ranking within the top 3. They are a good team but Indian team in its current form is any day better. SA got lucky in the first test and needed a unthinkable miracle in the form of Kallis to bail them out in the 3rd test. Sorry SA!

Posted by MasterfulStars on (January 7, 2011, 15:54 GMT)

SA could not win a test series in home for the last 3 years continuosly and they still question India's status as No 1. We have been unbeaten 2 times in home in the last 3 years. We drubbed an AUS side 2- 0 on two occasions which is better than the one that England beat in this Ashes. When England can claim they are World No 1, i dont understand why cant india. We won Series in Eng, WI, NZ, Pak and we drew series in SA, SRI and we lost in AUS only due to poor umpiring decisions and some un sportsmanship play from AUS. With all the above said Achievements we (India) can well be called as No 1 Team. If South africa keep a pitch full of grass and win based on 1 rainy day and dont complain, why are they complaining when India keep spinning tracks. We should dig holes in pitch to make ball spin and still SA/ENG should play and win to claim they are no1.

Posted by Jeysan on (January 7, 2011, 15:44 GMT)

@azzaman333 thanks for concern. But remember,when Kallis is gone(he isnt getting any younger,is he) and if Steyn is injured,SA will get thumped no matter where they play. So thank your lucky stars and pray that it continues :-) Only Kallis and Steyn stood between a 0-3 result and 1-1 we eventually ended up with

Posted by ashup on (January 7, 2011, 15:10 GMT)

"If we were playing India at home, and it was 1-1 we would be sitting in our dressing room a touch disappointed. "

- Graeme Smith April 2008

Posted by Cric_Is_Fun on (January 7, 2011, 14:28 GMT)

Smith is leading a fantastic SA team. He should stop making these nonsense comments and show some maturity in accepting that they played for a draw in the last two days. There is no point in blaming the pitch or his spinner for the result. Anyway, we should look forward to Ind-SA test matches for the next 2-3 years. I expect both teams to go neck to neck in this period. BTW the English team is not yet good enough to be compared to Ind or SA at this moment. Their performance is inflated by the poor showing of the Aussies. The English batsmen were never under any kind of pressure from the Aus bowlers. Only once did the Aussie bowlers showed up and their batting crumbled. So, this well-oiled machine needs someone like Kallis, Sachin or Laxman who can single handedly bring the team out of danger. 2011 should be a great year for some fascinating test cricket.

Posted by DavidJeyaraj on (January 7, 2011, 14:23 GMT)

The headlines say who got the better of whom. "Smith rues ..." "Dhoni upbeat ..." End of argument.

Posted by Silloh on (January 7, 2011, 13:46 GMT)

Interesting series and probably the best result at the end. Both teams have to play on the same pitch despite batting at different times. Skipper Smith is excellent in my opinion, but why diminish excellent performances or results because of the condition of the pitches ? Leave that that to the Administrators. If India is the top team, that includes the likes of Tendulkar,I would have expected a more positive approach with their batting and a good attempt at winning. But may be the team ain't really great after all, but such an approach only pushes the public, especially the youths to the 50 and 20 overs games, and gradually away from Test cricket . Hopefully this will not be the end CRICKET result.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

i saw this test as pure cricketing entertainment. both sides fought it out hard. india finally saving the test to draw the series. but couldnt smith hav declared around the 250-275 mark. tht way he could hav had more time. and the game might hav changed.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 13:17 GMT)

smith should rue the quality of harris as an spinner and also the ability of Indian batsman to play on a tricky 5 day wicket......had it not been the loss of toss in centurian it could have been different story to rue about all together...moreover he should be more concerned about zaheer-phobia with which he has been recently diagnosed.......

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 12:50 GMT)

@azzaman well then u dont even hav time to enjoy sa fans because if u dont hav a pace track to bowl at then ur team is nothing even bangladesh and other less powerfull cricket playing would easily defeat u, if kallis retires and steyn gets out of ur team then sa would go worse than wt aus is now, so bad and so sorry for sa future in all forms of cricket....

Posted by The_Professor on (January 7, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

Not only has India maintained their #1 ranking but they have, in fact, strengthened their claim - this was a series that most expected India to lose! Cpt.Meanster (on January 06 2011, 23:44 PM GMT) has summarised things very well. I would like to add a couple of facts from the series that re-affirms India's superiority: 1. Although some Indian players got to SA early, the team went into the 1st test without a warm-up game (thanks you BCCI) which resulted in the 1st innings collapse and subsequent defeat. 2. Although India were batting on the last day to save the test, they came closer to winning the test than SA - if India had got one more break (Kallis-Boucher) they would have won the test series. SA is too heavily reliant on Kallis and Steyn whilst India has depth in players. The future augurs well for India.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

@Mikhail Burke. I'm sorry to say but Smith isnt and never was a humble person. He may have been a good captain albeit an arrogant one however same can't be said about his teammates except Paul Harris. I like AB Devilliers, really a team man. The sentence you wrote that Smith said, I have not seen it. His arrogance was visible when he commented about Sachin. He now himself has confessed that without helpful condition his team can't take more that 3 Indian wickets inspite of having no.1 and no. 3 bowlers. So sad. Forget about India's dependence on Zaheer, I think SA depends more on Steyn. Just calculate % of total wickets for Steyn and Zaheer has taken. He has lion's share.

Posted by Hindh on (January 7, 2011, 12:37 GMT)

SA was scared the hell out of sehwags reputation that he wud go after the target that is the reason they did not declare. India retained their ranking and nowshould look forward for ODIs.

Posted by Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on (January 7, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

that both the innings india with a so called poorer bowling line up got SA reduced to a mere total before that obelisk called kallis intervened speaks a lot about the quality of each team.

If kallis didn't bat in the second innings like he did we were clear winners. One man took this series away. Graeme Smith should give considerable thought about his batsmen and their capability of playing spin & moderate medium pace alike.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 12:16 GMT)

Definitely, It was India who won the competition with I would say 55-45. If you analyze the series it was a great one. In the first test India lost Okay but they replied in the 2nd one. In the last test after 362, India could easily would have been in corner but Sachin did the magic and saved. Then at 130 for 6 SA was clearly down but Kalis produced another gem and at the end of the 4th day SA was safe. But India again replied them strongly and they did not seem to be in trouble at all on the 5th day despite the world's best bowling attack, alien conditions, pressure and 5th day pitch. Smith did not declare on 4th day despite all the history favoring him, was a clear sign that India had produced a fever factor in their minds plus the 5th day performance from India made the difference and so India is the winner and No.1. The time in cricket world is quite fascinating at the moment, No team is clear champion plus top teams are almost at the same level.

Posted by cricman007 on (January 7, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

The pitch had nothing to do with the result. The facts are as follows: 1. Smith is Zaheer's bunny 2. The South Africans dropped four catches off Tsotsobe's bowling.3. Tendular is still the little master.4. Morkel was only successful in the first innings against the tail.5. SA still can't handle Bhaji (Harbhajan) 6. Paul Harris is no spinner.7. Smith is a lousy captain. Congrats to Dhoni and team. You fought a good fight!

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (January 7, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

SA LACKED AN ATTACKING SPINNER. The pitch had something in it for a sinner and thats where SA fell short.

Posted by Spelele on (January 7, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

The no1 team in the world with supposedly the best batting line-up in the world boasting about saving a match and drawing a series with the no2 team? wow!, that says as much about India as it does about SA. I don't think SA is in a bad position at all in world cricket, just a few minor changes and they'll dominate. Imran Tahir should change the phenomenon of not finishing teams off on day 5. While the same Indian line-up made Tsotsobe look more devastating then Dale Steyn at times (esp Tendulkar), I'm not convinced about him being the third seamer. He might urge out Parnel coz he has a better record in 4 day games and has bowled well in the series, but Parnel would provide the much needed batting depth. As 4 the other competitors (Maclaren etc), they could also strengthen the tail, but they're not the variation SA needs. Deviliers does not play the swinging ball well, I expect big things 4rom Amla in the future, and Duminy in 4 Prince coz he bowls. So yeah, lots to look 4ward 2 4 SA.

Posted by diri on (January 7, 2011, 11:33 GMT)

SA deserved to win the series....all the luck was on indias side. not to mention the umpires....i can think of 8 decisions that should have gone south africas way and that would have completly changed the outcome of the series

Posted by Vroomfondel on (January 7, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

@Maverick79....what nonsense! India showed no intent at winning this test when faced with 340. 166/3 in a days play! England made 148 in the first SESSION Day 4 at the SCG. They have the line-up to try for it - if they had, there may have been more wickets, a different result. @Erica Herewini....I think you need to look again, your comments are unfounded. South Africa does lack a "threatening" spinner - one who can occupy an end and threaten to take wickets. NZ only has a threatening spinner. Australia is rubbish at the moment. This was a test between two great sides but neither are perfect.

Posted by Nerk on (January 7, 2011, 9:56 GMT)

South Africans are still chokers. Well played India, but this series should have been over when Sth Africa got India out in the first innings of the second test for less than three hundred. But oops, they could only get 100 odd.

Posted by A.Afker on (January 7, 2011, 9:50 GMT)

@ All the Indian Fans: All of you says SA is lucky with Toss,Kallis batting etc.If IND is batted with difficulty in the 1st Test,then same applicable for SA in 3rd Test.Really IND is lucky here than SA because SA win by an Innings.But IND won by 87 runs only.If UDRS applicable here SA could have won 2nd Test as well.They suffered by 3mistakes made by the umpires.(eg.Zaheers out,AB and Boucher out).Zaheer added 37 runs more after he was given not out.AB and Boucher also given out wrongly.If not results could have 2-0.Not only that even in the 3rd Test SRT was out at49 and eventually he made 146 runs and take the 2runs lead.If UDRS is there you know the result then?..But SRT is not great batsman since he did not walk when he edged(Even MSD is great in that manner)If he walks even 3rd match then results could have differance for sure.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 9:10 GMT)

India spoilt the last day but not going for a win. Negative play will kill test cricket

Posted by styx on (January 7, 2011, 9:04 GMT)

3) SA rely heavily on steyn, morkel and kallis. - thats one third of the team and 75% of bowling unit. How can you not rely on them or make them an important part of your overall strategy. So silly when people say teams would not be as good without their best players. 4)SA dont have a world class spinner and yet they still manage to compete in the sub continent. The fact that SA dont have a spinner makes their achivements more remarkable. 5)SA rely too much on pitch to help their fast bowlers. This argument is poor. The pitch is the pitch. Batsman friendly wickets where 600+ runs get scored in each innings create dull boring test matches and they will be the death of test cricket. Fast bowling is an art. Learn to appreciate it and admire it for its skill. 6) India are indeed a great team. They have wonderful stars and have learned to play and win in all conditions. As an Indian supporter you should be proud. But learn to appreciate some of the skills in the other sides.

Posted by styx on (January 7, 2011, 8:53 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster Please take off the blinkers. How you could have watched the series and determined that India are the better side is beyond me. Your arguments are terribly flawed. 1) India have 2-3 world class batsmen, SA only have Kallis. - Amla has scored 1000 test runs last year including 5 test centuries mostly against India, AB devilliers has broekn several South african batting records and has averaged 64 in the second half of his career. Graeme Smith averages close to 50 and has 19 test centuries. 2) Niether side showed they truly believe they are deserving of the number one ranking. True number one sides dont bat out a day without even attempting to win the match and series. Can you imagine Steve Waughs Australian side batting for a draw from ball 1 chasing 340 to win the series? I cant see how India relished that particular tough situation. more to follow...

Posted by itsyasir on (January 7, 2011, 8:48 GMT)

Steyn's strike rate always impressed me. He and Waqar Younis have the best strike rates in those who got more than 200 Wickets. But with Wasim and Waqar we Pakistanis always felt like more chance of winning then a draw. I was wondering what is Steyn's average in fourth innings. It turned out to be 29.04 at strike rate of 53.1 while fourth innings average of Waqar is 22.03 at strike rate of 42.5. This and the absence of quality spinner explains why South Africa had lately not been able to win matches from commanding positions like the two matches against Pakistan recently and this one. With Wasim having average of 21.66 at strike rate of 50.1 the W's were really match winners. Other greats McGrath also has a great 4th innings average of 19.4 and I am sure that West Indies greats might have even better fourth innings averages.

Posted by Seether1 on (January 7, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

You Indians fans are making a big deal about the fact that you drew a series in SA. However you conveniently forget that India have failed to beat SA in India in the last 2 tours! Please do some research before talking. If a billion Indians say something, that doesn't make it true!

@ Erica Herewini: You are really uneducated about cricket. If SA lacks depth, then what about India. When Zaheer doesn't play they bowl no better than a club cricket team.

India may be No 1, but that doesn't mean they are better than SA head-to-head, as the records will prove!

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

somebody should teach Mr.Smith that a true test wicket like this one at Cape town assists the spin bowlers on the 5th day...not fast bowlers...everytime Dale Steyn can't run through Strong batting line-ups...Same mistake was done by MSD when he let SA to prevent their downfall in the second innings by using fast bolwers more than required and not relying on his spin bowlers more...of course an outstanding batsman Mr. Kallis was there...but allowing an out of place and out of form Mark Boucher to get 50 odd runs on that crumbling pitch really needs some stupid tactics...anyways the test match in the second innings was played defensively. Smith had only himself to blame...had he declared at a lead of 300 runs, his bowlers could have put more pressure by getting 10 odd overs to bowl at India on the 4th day...

Posted by AtreyaGothram on (January 7, 2011, 7:35 GMT)

Smith complains about bad pitch when he fails in India, and now the same complain in SA? What does he expect? SA will always get to bowl in green, bouncy track with overcast conditions and it will turn into placid flat batting track when SA bats? It was the same flat pitch where Harbhajan got 7 wickets and Kallis scored a century.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 7, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

In other words, doesn't this curator know we have no spinner in the side and most of us don't know how to bat against spin. We almost lost the match to Harbhajan and our spinner could get no wickets on a 5th day track.

Posted by arya_underfoot on (January 7, 2011, 7:16 GMT)

south africa is not as good as they have appeared to be. the outstanding individual performances of kallis, steyn and more recently, amla and de villiers, have made sa look better than they actually are. personally, i feel that their bowling attack was better a few years ago with the likes of donald, pollock and ntini, even though steyn is better than all of those three.

but the same goes for india. apart from home wins against australia and sri lanka, and an away triumph in england, india have done little of note in recent times. i know they won in the west indies and nz, but seriously, that hardly counts. india could not win against sa home or away, nor could they win away series in australia or sri lanka. also, they struggled to win at home against england and nz. so even india, it can be said, have not proved that they are outright number one material. however, there will be chances to correct that later in 2011 with away series in england and australia. cant wait!!

Posted by ssen123 on (January 7, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

Surprised at Smith's comments....basically what he wants to say is "SA can win a test match even in home conditions if a 5 day test match is played on a fresh wicket everyday...his great fast bowlers can only take wickets when the conditions are 100% favorable for them...SA played entire day 4 and were all out, India played on a day 5 track and were only 3 wickets down...Well done India! You have indeed made us proud.

Posted by Sulaimaan91 on (January 7, 2011, 7:11 GMT)

@all indians its ridiculous how you'll seem to think that India was the better of the two teams and that SA relies only on a few players performance.Firstly the toss, Smith did win it on the first two occasions and he made use of it accordingly in the first test, what did Dhoni do when he won the toss in the third test? you'll ended nearly losing the match.As for the batting both teams were equal-Kallis,AB & Amla peformed.For India-Sachin,Gambhir and Laxman peformed.Now lets take a look at the bowling, Steyn 21wkts(av.17.47),Morkel 15wkts(av.24.06).For India the Harbhajan 15wkts(29.60),Zaheer 10wkts(24.60).So..........?????????????? Who was the better team?

Posted by gtmr on (January 7, 2011, 7:07 GMT)

We are very sorry to you and your coach Mr.Corrie van Zyl, Mr.Smith. There is a saying "Barking dog do not bite". You both played with your tongue quoting that Indians have always underperformed in Southafrica and they are not capable of taking all the 20 wickets to win a test match. Shame on you and your bowlers that you handicapped than India and you could not send not more than three batsmen to pavillion on a fifth day track with the no.1 bowler in your side. Try to respect others. Congrats Team India. You have let your game speak more about your calibre. Good work.

Posted by moBlue on (January 7, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

if we get away from all the posturing, the facts [at least, my interpretation of the facts] are as follows: SA are no world beaters, at least not right now. the 2007 SA team that played IND and won in cape town [mostly the same team - gibbs, pollock and ntini then playing in place of petersen, morkel and tsotsobe] were easily more potent, and not just on paper (which is obvious when you compare the 3 player pairs above head-to-head). don't forget they had a younger kallis who was therefore more of a threat in the bowling department! the 2011 SA team on the other hand will struggle, even at home, despite the awesome steyn and kallis! because their batting is weak and brittle, and they only have one potent bowler. IND's batting - home or away - is fine until the big three retire. IND should groom pujara, drop raina, and try rahane and dhawan. IND need to get sreesant into counseling so he doesn't overstep the line and get banned, drop ishant and induct 2 other quicks, capable of swing.

Posted by ashup on (January 7, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

"If we were playing India at home, and it was 1-1 we would be sitting in our dressing room a touch disappointed. "

- Graeme Smith , April 2008 after the test Series in India

Posted by CHARLA on (January 7, 2011, 6:55 GMT)


Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 6:54 GMT)

There was a lot of talk after the first day on the standing of the Indian team. For a team that has not even one series against a test playing nation at home since 2008, that speaking a lot. Woudl be great if Respect is given where it is due atleast outside the field. Kallis, Steyn and then to a certain extent Amla and de Villiers. teh others are just about supporting this team. very unlike the indians who played as a team and always came back like champions.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 6:53 GMT)

India ve never lost a test since the sydney test in 2008 against australia.. I feel similar ones would happen against sa test 2008=durban test 2010.

Posted by crazycuts on (January 7, 2011, 6:42 GMT)

any given day across india sa would have drawn series chasing 342 they wud surely have clearly indians are the champioons out of 2

Posted by moBlue on (January 7, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

the problem with the cricket culture in SA is the following: not only do the SA commentators and the captain and coach unashamedly toot their own horn, they refuse to reconsider their narcissistic perspective - and in the process continue to embarass themselves (robin jackman in particular on TV, and the captain and coach throughout) in front of the spectators of other countries - despite the slow proliferation of contrary facts. at the end of the first test, you would have thought, if you only listened to them, that SA was the undisputed world #1! the factual record was still thin, mind you, but one win on a super-fast track against an unaccustomed opponent was enough! then they had their backsides handed to them in test #2 by a proud and resilient team. nevertheless, one thing endured - embarrassingly for the people of SA - throughout T2 and T3. a la baghdad bob, the propogandist, the SA true believers kept at it, incredibly - and credulously. the pie is on *their* faces today...

Posted by Proteas123 on (January 7, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

Gee you guys are out to nail SA. The team did disapoint but are still a good team and not a 3 man team, what a joke. India should be disapointed, they are ranked number one but have not been able to beat SA in 3 series. SA never choked yesterday, they never had the fire power to bowl out a really good batting line up blocking out. Why didn't india go for the win. @ Cpt.Meanster - We would take Harbhajan but the rest you can keep. If India truelly relish tough situations, why didn't they go for the win?

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (January 7, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

What a performance by India. Very good decsion to not try to score 340 runs on 5th day. 90% chance was to lose the match.

India really showed the credintial of being #1 team in the world now.

Salute to Doni, Tendulkar, VVS and all. Missed Sehwag batting this time around, sad to see he did not click in any match. what a performance by india. great job. keep it up.

Posted by highveldhillbilly on (January 7, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

One thing that is not being said by the Indian supporters is...INDIAN HAVE STILL NOT WON A SERIES IN SA. HA HA, CLEARLY STILL DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM THE UNDISPUTED WORLD #1. Some really dumb comments here, SA has not batting depth, kak, Amla, Kallis, AB are all in the top 10 and Smith will find form again soon. Also there are some proming young batsmen coming through, bowling is a concern but lets see what Tahir will do. In general Indian fans are sycophants, most of you can't apprecaite a close fought series and have to try justify why that your the best instead of letting the results talk. Reeks of a country that full of people who unsure of itself and have low self esteem.

Posted by KunzMan on (January 7, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

What will happen to the competitiveness of Ind and SA after the big India three and KAllis retire? Maybe in a year's time? Will they go down the Aussie way?

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

Dear cyniket ! with due respect to ur cricketing sense, it seems ur a non-playing twin of graeme smith, who dont want to acept the fact that they were lucl=ky to scrape through a draw. As for future its india vs england to decide supremacy come july-aug 2011. And it would be SA VS aus to settle for. Get ur FTP right. Even Strauss admitted after beating AUS that real test lies ahead in the series vs india.Dont need to say more, right bro!!!

Posted by zapper22 on (January 7, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

LOL @ Indian fans-- toss played a factor in the first test, but not in the other 2!!!! what delsuion. India were unable to take advantage of the conditions in cape town after winning the toss, as SA did in centurion. When India batted @ capetown the pitch was better than when SA batted--under the windy conditions on day 1--and yet Indians could scrape a draw!!! And is it not the Indian team which boasts of "greats" like Sehwag, tendulkar, dravid, laxman, et al? Well to be frank they are not "great" but good players and India is a good team. If you want to see great teams, then watch the match highlights of WI of the 80s and Aussies of the late 90s to mid 2000s--these teams used to dominate, and not rely on ifs and buts. When these teams were playing they used to beat the No.2 team home and away, not scrape to 1-1 draws and rely on what if?

Posted by Ajayvs on (January 7, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

Common People,Smith was fair in his assesment. He is not being Arrogant, no need to rip him apart like that. We indian fans always go overboard in everything. We need to have balance in praising our team and putting them down.Similarly we need to be balanced when we analyze other teams, SA surely is not a two man army. Amla has been excellent for them this year.He has played well in SA as well as in subcontinent conditions.Any team would want have a bowler like Mourne Morkel.Other than these they have more than decent players in Smith and Devillers. India team is good and deserve their No. 1 spot but still they dont have team to inspire Awe like the WI teams and Australian teams of yester years,Lets be honest with this.

Posted by sudhs_107 on (January 7, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

This is the one thing which I like about Aussies. They would have gone for win by declaring earlier. If you play safe, the opposite team also will play safe. If Smith had declared for a bit lesser score, who knows, India would have tried for a win and eventually lost all the wickets. But, 342 in last day was impossible, which made India to play defensive!!

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Why smith even the captain !? I think the team will do better without him around

Posted by KunzMan on (January 7, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

Good series. Could have been great with a result. As some comments have said, India have drawn a series away, so they at the end of the day have the edge. Agree with the comments that SA have failed to get 20 wickets, but that doesn't mean they choked as someone has mentioned.

Posted by Dnigma on (January 7, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

It amazes me how so many people are so against Smith and the performance of the South African team. You do not maintain a top 3 ranking in all formats by being lucky or making excuses. Cricket is a game about making the most of the conditions and situations. All the if statements in the world is not going to change the fact that South Africa is one of the best teams in the world. Sure, we have yet to win a major trophy or maintain a number 1 ranking, but the fact is we can hold our heads up high as South African supporters knowing and acknowledging that our team is the most consistently ranked team in all formats of the game. SA Cricket FTW!

Posted by world_peace on (January 7, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

@gizza , Has England play in 38' heat and not fail miserably and not whinge how terrible that country is to play cricket in, I dont think so. South Africa is a good unit. It was a good test series between two top level teams.Both teams were out of puff in the last 2 days coz of the conditions, injury and the energy sapping opposition which takes its toll. Nobody takes a win from a drawn series its just an illusion. A win is a win and draw is a draw. This drawn series is played on result oriented pitches which shows that both teams are equal.Would love to see a 5 match series between the top four in the next year and a half. Finally test cricket is like what it used to be in the 90's " a hard work "

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (January 7, 2011, 5:35 GMT)

Great series, hats off to all. Look at the bigger picture and appreciate that two great teams have played each other home and away, and drawn both series. If you want to micro-analyse, there are what-ifs to ponder that would 'prove' SA the better team, just as there are what-ifs to ponder that would 'prove' India the better team. What if the Harris lbw appeal against Sachin at Centurion had been successful? What if the caught behind (and I think it did carry) against Sachin by Steyn at Newlands had been given? What if the lbws against AB and Bouch had been given not out? What if MS had won all 3 tosses? But "what ifs" get you nowhere. What if any of the catches that Viru went out to had been dropped? What if Jacques or VVS hadn't been run out at the bowler's end? What if Sree had had corn flakes for breakfast instead of muesli? What if Alviro prefers Tintin to Asterix? We'll never know, so let's just appreciate what we did see and not take cheap shots at anyone? Please?

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

oh come on Gream... pitches as good as those could have been. He should give credit to Indian batters espclly Gambhir-Dravid . who did not allow them to make early in-roads. Also Sehwag stayed there for a lot longer than expected 12overs with new ball from steyn and morne . Although cricket is the series was as its best, a result in 3rd would have made it a lot more memorable. it is hard to chose the best of these two teams as they have strength & weaknesses of their own. one is more of a batting power other one good all round side but lesser batting. One use fast bowling as a destroying weapon other depend upon spin to do the same. Overall a good comptible series between no.1 & 2. Morals of the series for India you r no.1 team so go for kill like Aussie when they were at peak , defencive tactics might cost you the no. 1 spot. & find all-round cricketers( Paveen kumar/Yusuf pathan) & opening batter with batter footwork for this sort of pitches as Sehwag is always going to be a failure

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

ha ha ha. SA roared that their batting line up is strong! Also the breathe the fire in their bowling too. Also I openly agree that Indians have very week bowling line up. You guys crumbled to the Indian attack and you still saying you were very best. Remember if we guys have Steyn and James Anderson in our time. This world will bow to the Indian cricket. But there are more jimmy and Steyn in India, But finding them is real difficult task.

Posted by DINESHCC on (January 7, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

Mr.Smith, according to you, your team has best bowling attack in the world and the world's No.1 bowler is Dale Steyn. Hashim Amla and Kallis are also world's top ranked batsmen. How can a bowler be termed as No.1 in the world when he could take wickets only in bowler friendly conditions. When an ordinary bowler (according to the SA, AUS, SL and PAK supporters) could take 7 wickets on the 4th day pitch, that too a flat pitch according to Mr.Smith, how the world's No.1 bowler could not take wickets on the 5th day pitch. Except Harris, Indian batsmen played comfortably the other 3 pacers. When the world's weakest bowling link could take 4 wickets in the morning session, how the world's best bowling attack could take only one wicket in the morning session and allowed the Indian batsman to draw the test. The 3rd test shown only one thing. (i.e.) had Zaheer played in the 1st test, SA will be dropped to 3rd place in the rankings and England gained No.2 position.

Posted by nataraajds on (January 7, 2011, 5:10 GMT)

Indian's played the last day with a determination to save the test and they did it successfully. Cong rat's to team india for leveling the series which is a great achievement. Ghambir, Dravid, Sachin batted with responsibility. India could have win this test had they not let SA from 95/5 to 340 in second innings. anything below 250 could have been achived on last day.

India must play more & more on bouncy tracks in SA,Aus ,NZ and English conditions to maintain the supremacy. some time they do strugle specially with bat during seaming & bouncy conditions'. so it's important for both senior and junior players to play more & more in these conditions insted of flat tracks.

Posted by anoopshameed on (January 7, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

Everyone has been questioning India's Test Ranking but, how come a team that has not won a single Test Series, except against West Indies, in the last 2 years is Ranked Second?!

Posted by Test-Cricket-Rocks on (January 7, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

SA needed Imran Tahir on the last day. The ICC need to step up and implement the review system. The lack of the review system cost SA the 2nd test and the series.

Posted by Prashant007Geetam on (January 7, 2011, 5:05 GMT)

Shining and unparalleled example of run chase by a team which bosts itself no 1 and with best batting line up in world

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (January 7, 2011, 5:04 GMT)

And to the 'experts' out there, pray tell how this demonic pitch at Centurion flattened out enough for SA to post the score they did, yet India in their second innings could not at the very least make SA bat again? It's impressive that a pitch could be so sensitive to who was batting on it so as to flatten out for SA but then have some more treachery up its sleeve to make it impossible for India to achieve parity. @Luvindia, yet another example to illustrate one of my earlier posts about how some (not all) Indian supporters have become ungracious in victory. It is possible to "luv India" without sneering at the opposition, I promise you. Try it, and then learn some humility. I agree that India is the top team in the world, but that does not give anyone license to try and rub other teams faces in the dust. And to my old sparring partner Nampally, at Centurion Hash got big runs, so did AB, and the guys below them didn't even get a bat. So that was far from a one-man show ;-)

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (January 7, 2011, 4:58 GMT)

Congrats to both teams, but especially India for their best result to date in SA. India may have finished the stronger but neither captain was aggressive enough to go for the win if it meant risking defeat, which is not unnatural. Why can't fans of both sides have the humility to accept that these two teams are very evenly matched and have complementary strengths? No need to take cheap shots at the opposing skippers, because even if you were Freud you wouldn't be able to know what was going through their minds. Just appreciate good hard test cricket and salute the teams. And to the guys who think SA has just 3 players, get over yourselves. Please show me just ONE instance of a test series anywhere in the world ever where every single player made a significant contribution throughout the series. SA has terrific players in Hash, Biff, Bouch, Ash, and Morne, who have all proved themselves in the past. Not everyone can have a great series every series, sport doesn't work that way.

Posted by philipsmgp on (January 7, 2011, 4:56 GMT)

funny comments from Graeme Smith.... to be honest he did not have the guts to declare earlier on the 4th day.... cos he did not believe his bowlers could bowl out india in one day.... he was more keep on securing a draw thats the reason why he kept on continuing till the close of play on 4th day. rather than ruing the pitch he has to accpet the fact that india had played very good cricket and they were the more likely winner on most of the occasions in this test match. and whoever said SA will trounce India i dont know where your faces will be now. your so called world class SA bowling could not get india out twice in the 3rd match.stop undersestimating Other teams and give them due respect.

Posted by wawwaweewa on (January 7, 2011, 4:48 GMT)

Wow that's rich coming from Smith. They failed to close out the Indian batting that apparently has a "weakness" for wickets with pace. I don't want to argue on who is the Number 1 team at the moment, but Team India surely did prove they aren't gonna go down without a fight. Smith should learn some humility. MSD is proving to be an awesome captain!

Posted by Quazar on (January 7, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

A fascinating, high quality Test series this was! Well played to both the teams for putting up a great contest.

Posted by AKmAK on (January 7, 2011, 4:39 GMT)

Befoe the series what and all show many lip excercises.. now its the time for truth. Entire cricket world now realized that how and why IND are No.1. We saw through the series only couple of them rescued SA, Steyn really did his best in home conditions and Kallis. Kallis played the 1st test and they won (If IND might have been a practice match before, the result should been otherwise), he failed 2nd test and they lost and he played 3rd and secured draw. I strongly believed that if IND lost toss or we batted first in 3rd test, then there were very good chance for IND series win. Because we all seen how Bhaji butchered SA and why don't a single for so called (according to Smith) Harris. If IND might got a chance to bowl in 5th day then deffinitly it has been ended up an INDan victory. So luckly SA safe their face (not IND) but still their "big" players busy with making excuses.. So ca'mmon SA firstly put your feet on earth and rethink and realize your limitations or its 2late.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 4:35 GMT)

The curator was asked to prepare a pitch which would last for 5 days. SA were in favour of draw than a possible 2-1 loss knowing the crumbling nature of the pitch and effectiveness of harbhanjan on such Pitches. 3 day 3rd session and 4th day 1st session India were firmly in control and there after the match slowly started moving towards draw. Smith could still have made a match out of it had it declared it in between 250-300. 341 was a huge target and an over defensive one. I think both teams are equal as India lack a genuine pace bowler and SA lacks a genuine spinner. And also the number 6 batsman in both teams are circumspect.

Posted by Vroomfondel on (January 7, 2011, 4:26 GMT)

Lots of opinion and conjecture. South Africa lack penetration outside of the opening bowlers. England has demonstrated the value of combinations after the new ball pair. A good spinner and a bowler to work in tandem from the other end. They have demonstrated the value of just 4 bowlers who work to a plan. After Steyn and Morkel SA have no "plan" just "hope". SA needs 4 bowlers who understand how to work in tandem - irrespective of the combination - and who can work to a plan. For that matter, so does India. One cannot say that there is anybody particularly special or outstanding in the current England side (they are all good), but as a TEAM they are a well-oiled and outstanding unit. India and SA should sit up and take note. India didn't play for the win, SA couldn't force it. As of today, England should be considered No 1. India and SA both have more ability, but England is the better TEAM.

Posted by AQsq on (January 7, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

Well team south africa requested a green pitch at centurion and durban, so why couldn't they do that here. In India whenever there is a flat pitch, everyone hypes up and says India cannot produce proper pitches and that we cannot win, blah blah I am a sore loser. Smith stop making excuses about the pitch and concentrate on strategies. You could have taken a risk and declared when you had a lead of 260. That would have been challenging enough since you have some great bowlers, and to score that in a day it could have been really difficult. You had the chance to win it but you didn't take the risk, so thats your fault. Also, know you know how India felt on day 1 in centurion where the pitch was great for bowlers then in day 2 in transitioned into a batting pitch. Why didn't you talk about that then, "we won because the conditions favored us". Stop making excuses buddy, this is test cricket at the highest level, number 1 vs number 2.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 4:12 GMT)

It is hardly surprising South Africa could not force the issue on Day 5. Dale Steyn's fourth innings stats are nowhere near as good as his bowling record in the first two innings of tests, so it was going to be a stretch for South Africa to bowl out India.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 4:03 GMT)

i think Smith is a sore loser he should accept the fact that India is the best team in the world right now,bt if the pitch was FLAT than it was for both the teams and SA has to bowl on last day and to turn the ball on a given day u need to hv a quality spinner not a stopping bowler like harris who bowling was so simple on the fifth day even when bhajji got seven wickets on the same pitch on fourth day accept the fact UR NO 2 IN THE WORLD

Posted by tkpadmanabhan on (January 7, 2011, 3:58 GMT)

It has been a well fought series & Well Done India! But time has come to look in to the future! With all the mainstays in their late twenties and the main strike bowler in his early thirties, India has to groom youngsters now!Probably few seasons from now our talent cupboard otherwise would be left empty!Selectors should rotate talents otherwise we will be heading the way WI & the current Australia!Selectors must not allow senior players block the way of young talents future growth of Indian cricket!

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (January 7, 2011, 3:57 GMT)

Ha ha ha...I just wonder where is the 3-0 predictors like diri. This -good for nothing- SA team can't bat in flat or bowling pitches. They were just lucky to get player like Kallis to help them in both innings.

Posted by azzaman333 on (January 7, 2011, 3:29 GMT)

Enjoy it while it lasts Indian fans, because as soon as Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman retire you will plummet.

Posted by cyniket on (January 7, 2011, 2:54 GMT)

@gizza, i take your point about india being the away team, but india didn't beat sa at home either. I don't think that it's fair to label sa 'chokers' just because they didnt win, india didn't win either. Sa and england are young teams who are getting better. Steyn and morkel will continue to get better and there is imran tahir to come in. The opposite is true of india, who have NEVER won is sa or aus, so their chance to establish themselves as a convincing no.1 side has been and gone. the future is sa and england.

Posted by hatrick26 on (January 7, 2011, 2:29 GMT)

In this series, both SA and India were kind of even, just a slight edge to India like 51-49 since they were playing away. BCCI should set up some practice games. All boards do it except them because of money, nothing else. Based on 3rd day Steyn, I thought it is curtains India as they would face a 5th day pitch with Steyn but I was pleasantly surprised and also a meek captaincy from Smith not declaring on 4th day to have a go at India for last half hr. It is just psychological that India would desperately try to avoid wickets on 4th day but since they only started on 5th day, they think just play the 1st session without any major damage, you are home & because of batting line up. plus there is no spinner in this world right now (Swann included) that is going to scare them. Only hope was Steyn/Morkel doing some damage but once they saw them off, they were home. Thats what happened.

Posted by leomc on (January 7, 2011, 1:46 GMT)

Smith does not come across as a very good capn. Tends to blame other factors for his own failures. Can't think of a better test pitch. Seam and swing on Days 1,2. Batting conditions on 3,4 - but not bad for bowlers. Started to deteriorate on 4th, variable bounce and turn available for bowlers on 5. Now what does he want?? A seaming green track on all 5 days? If thats the only place he can win even with this bowling then he is a failure as a cap'n. A couple of his earlier laments similar to this... - Anderson and Broad being naughty with the bowl - still he bailed out when the right thing to do was make official compliant. - Trott being timetaking and deviating to hide the fact that his team failed to dismiss no11 Onions. - Abt UDRS after India win in Durban. - Abt the flat ptiches in Abu Dhabi - what else do u expect there? - Abt flat pitches in WI after St. Kitts Draw. - top of the list - Abt Sreesanth after Durban - to hide the fact that he failed to act calmly & threw away his wkt

Posted by psjjjjj on (January 7, 2011, 1:44 GMT)

smith!!!! cmoon man be sporty enough to accept that indians batted beautifully yesterday. look at msd interview he was ready to accept the mistake that they didn't bowl well to get u out.if any team that had chance to win,it was india.if kallis had some serious injury and if he couldn't have batted ,then u would have lost the series.if it was a flat track then why didn't none of ur top 6 (except kallis) were able to survive and reach even 30's.Australia of the past have also accepted the toughest team they played was india.Atleast mention something like credit to their batsman they batted well enough to survive.If it was a flat track then smith please look the morning session yesterday

Posted by Champ2000 on (January 7, 2011, 0:50 GMT)

next time lets schedule a match in wheat farms in mexico or vietnam with all grass around.. if the pitch did something SA would have scored low and lost it. so be happy mr smith... Smith is mediocore batsman and very avg captain.. he has got bunch of talented guys (read dale, morkel, kallis) and makes all kinds of noice.

Sangakara part 2.

Posted by Cricketfan100 on (January 7, 2011, 0:48 GMT)

Please check out this link on Smiths comment in 2008 when India at home end up with 1-1.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

South African team has no depth...big three Kallis Steyn and AB are their main players. If one doesnt play well, the whole team doesnt...Amla is more like Kallis/Dravid were 5 years ago,...."Draw Aimers" or "2nd string"

Posted by leomc on (January 7, 2011, 0:39 GMT)

Just a couple of noteworthy facts - SA is struggling to closeout matches - here are their series results for last 3 years Played 12, Won - 6, Lost -1, Draw - 5 And their W/L % during this period is 1.88 which is below SL, Ind and Eng. If their home record during this period is analysed, they look horrid - P15/ W7/L5/D3 - thats even below Aus during this period and if you discount the two wins against Ban during this period, it looks 13/5/5/3. Does not look much of a home record for an aspiring Number 1 team. Here is their performance against top 5 Test teams(excl. WI/NZ/BAN). P24/W9/L 8/D7. Does not look much bright right??? Now, breaking the record into non-Subcontinent and Subcontinent(ie. pace friendly and pace nonfriendly) conditions, Pace friendly - P17/W7/L6/D4 Pace unfriendly - P7/W2/L2/D3 Inference - SA bowling fails to close out matches under pressure/unfriendly conditions. in other conditions their batsmen allows other teams to dictate terms as much as their own bowling.

Posted by Gizza on (January 7, 2011, 0:31 GMT)

@cyniket when there is a drawn series (or in fact a drawn game in ANY sport) the away team is normally considered stronger than the home team. India drew on South Africa's home turf, ie. in fast and seaming condition. And who knows if the BCCI were as sensible as the ECB a couple of warm-up games might have prevented the first innings defeat in which case India would have won.

Now England may very well take the No. 1 spot from India but South Africa won't. They choke as we saw here. They choked in the second test and the bowlers choked on the last day of the third test. I've seen Steyn and Morkel get more wickets on flatter tracks but they choked here. Plus they don't have a good spinner. Harris was the real failure. Swann and even a modern day Harbhajan (who's not as good as he used to be) could have taken 5 wickets.

Posted by Nampally on (January 7, 2011, 0:29 GMT)

Smith appears to be a Master of excuses. He forgets that he was very lucky to win the toss twice in the first 2 tests and bowl on a very green and fast pitch each time. Even so when SA lost the 2nd test he blamed SA batting. Now India let the SA batting recover twice. In both the innings the SA team should have been out below 200. India took the first innings lead of only 2 runs instead of 200 because they let SA off the hook. Now he blames the pitch. SA won the only match because of Kallis's batting. They lost 2nd test when Kallis failed. They drew the 3rd because of Kallis's century in each innings. If India had gone on the offensive, they could have chased 340 runs needed in the third test. Even if they batted in the normal manner they would have scored over 300. So thank your lucky stars Smith that India made a tactical mistake. Third test wicket was made for the SA fast bowlers. Even then SA could not win. India needs high credit for playing tests without practice on SA pitches.

Posted by Baria00 on (January 7, 2011, 0:06 GMT)

i did not see much in SA batting line up after can be said the same thing about indians but they r making an effort to bring in Pujara is has far more better technical than raina..i would really like to see RP Singh in the setup with abhimanyu mithun..india needs to build than fast bowling department..zaheer shows time and time again that u can out think the batsman instead of blasting him with pace..if not for dhoni's defensive captaincy on day 4, story might have been different. smith was scared of loosing and was the worst captain of the two..

Posted by Dr.K.H.Iyer on (January 6, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

Cricket is about conquering boundaries and playing with courage and humility! Kallis showed the courage! And Sachin showed humility! Time to learn, Smith!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 6, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

India are clearly the better side in this series and here is why:

1) India have 2-3 world class batsmen in their ranks whereas SA have only Kallis.

2) India relish tough situations to prove their No.1 ranking whereas SA are chokers.

3) SA rely heavily on Steyn, Morkel and Kallis and that's not the right attitude.

4) India have a world class spinner in Harbhajan but SA have none.

5) SA rely too much on pitch to help their fast bowlers but India care less.

6) India the best sub-continental team in the world and not easy pushovers.

Nothing much more to say apart from the fact that India still need a good all-rounder. You can be PROUD TEAM INDIA !! :)

Posted by Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on (January 6, 2011, 23:38 GMT)

Part 4: Oh, I forgot to finish what I started in my first post. SA didn't win this series for a reason. A captain who doesn't have a measure of the situation will take down the team's fortunes with him. People ask, "What is the role of a captain? A Captain is just as good as the team". As true as it might seem, there is what is called strategy and the ability to look at the reality as it stands. That's what defines the difference between a namesake Captain and a Great Captain who is thinking through the context. He obviously has no measure of the situation. He didn't declare at the right moment on day 4 in the last session. It would have given them a chance to have a go at the Indian Batsmen twice with the new ball - once in the evening and then in the morning on day 5. A Captain who is not able to see that it is not the flat pitch but the Indian Batsmen's resolve that drew the match, will also be unable to see that he didn't think through the circumstances of the match appropriately.

Posted by RogerC on (January 6, 2011, 23:15 GMT)

Dhoni said at the end of the first test that India does badly in the first test but will recover eventually. He was spot on as usual. India usually gets into first test without adequate practice. In this series, the toss was very vital in the first test due to the pitch condition on first day and SA got double lucky with the toss and the absence of Zaheer Khan. At the end of the series, full credit to India for fighting back and coming with the heads high. 1-1 result is indeed a moral loss for SA. And for the numbers, India is still the numero uno in world cricket.

Posted by NRI- on (January 6, 2011, 23:13 GMT)

Mr. Thubelihle - Graeme Smith got lucky and he should acknowledge that. Like someone said, imagine he lost the toss at Centurion and with Zaheer fit and Steyn injured - he may well have lost the 1st test. If the pitch was doing more, SA would not have got to 342. We assume Sehwag was unable to bowl in thet crucial period. The fact is, pitches and tosses determine matches when teams are very close as is the case with SA, India, England, SL and Aus - in no particular order - they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Pitches are made to suit the home team, their bowlers are familiar with the type of ball (kokkaburra etc) and conditions and their batters have grown up and excelled in first class matches in those conditions (otherwise they would not be selected). SO TO REDUCE THE PITCH HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE, THERE SHOULD BE NO COIN TOSS BUT THE CALL SHOULd ALWAYS BE THE VISITING TEAM CAPTAIN'S AS IF HE HAD WON THE TOSS.

Posted by RogerC on (January 6, 2011, 23:05 GMT)

Flat pitch or not, Smith can't play Zaheer Khan. LOL.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:55 GMT)

Smith is not very good at this press conference thing is he! He came out so strong in the beginning of the series about India's #1 ranking. Picked on the trivial fact that Tendulkar didn't rotate strike in the lost cause. Didn't give credit where it was due. Poor poor captain. Good thing SA is not playing for sometime so he will get a chance to think.

Posted by Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on (January 6, 2011, 22:30 GMT)

Part 2: Every Indian Batsman put his hand down and went on with the job at hand which is to face the best fast bowling pair in the world in their own backyard on a 5th day wicket that has lot of uneven bounce. Even Sehwag played a conspicuously uncharacteristic innings. That should give Graeme an idea of how well the Indian Batsmen went about their job and how determined the Indian batting line up has been. Graeme, give credit where it is due mate. There is much more to be desired if you were to be a good ambassador for South African Cricket, especially when it comes to appreciating the efforts of batsmen, you yourself being a batsmen you should know better than the flat pitch talk. Next, Graeme thank that Great Man Kallis for getting us on the defensive. He was the one who took a win for India out of the equation. The scoreline could have been 2-1 in favour of India as we speak. Next, Graeme thank your lucky stars that you won the toss for the first test. (to be continued)

Posted by cric4india on (January 6, 2011, 22:30 GMT)

Isn't one Sangakkara enough?

Posted by TOPBATTER on (January 6, 2011, 22:26 GMT)

FMatt - " Oh and whatever happened to him questioning India's No. 1 ranking?? " Good you brought this up. Pre series, Greame Smith questioned India's ability to win in SA, and quickly retracted this (or rather, accepted that India were deserving Number 1s in the post match press conference) after the Durban drubbing that his team received.

TSZondi - Telling the truth selectively when it is convenient or to hide faults in his captaincy is what is being raised if I am not mistaken. Smith was afraid that he would lose the series when he did not put India in to bat last evening giving them 10-15 hostile overs from Steyn / Morkel with a target of 275-280 to get in roughly 100 overs.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:20 GMT)

@Johnsrini - Defs not Australia. Hopefully the selectors have enough sense to clense out the whole side. Would rather struggle now, then keep struggling because the selectors cant see past the present.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:16 GMT)

imagine african team with out kalis.....?

Posted by TOPBATTER on (January 6, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

Baria00 - you are spot on - Smith has always been arrogant esp. after Steyn / Morkel began to excel for SA and SA began to hover around the top 3 positions in world test rankings. Test captains are always as good as their bowling unit.

the_blue_android - you spoke my words there - Smith is full of himself and having a two quality fast bowlers and one world class allrounder has sort of masked Smith's misgivings

Posted by cric7 on (January 6, 2011, 22:11 GMT)

AWESOME!!! So, without assistance from pitch (like pitch as 12th man), SA can not win, even with best bowlers. Thanks for agreeing Smith. Clearly India are #1. No Questions.

Posted by cyniket on (January 6, 2011, 22:10 GMT)

so india have failed to beat sa again. One humiliation and two even contests. Now we can say south africa will play england to see who is the best.

Posted by FMatt on (January 6, 2011, 22:04 GMT)

@ the_blue_android, you hit the nail on the head there, couldn't agree with you more! If the pitch were to do more, SA wouldn't have reached 362 after being 130 for 6.

Smith never likes to admit that he was wrong...wrong about his comments that the Indian side couldn't take 20 wickets - we did once Zak was back in the 2nd and 3rd tests, SA didn't in the 3rd test even bowling on 5th day, didn't realize that SA without Kallis couldn't bat OR bowl India out to win a test :-)... wrong about India's ability to bat on South African pitches and conditions - except for the 1st test where SA had the advantage of putting India in to bat under excellent bowling conditions, the batsmen did just fine (including the 2nd innings of that Test). Oh and whatever happened to him questioning India's No. 1 ranking?? Take a swig from the "humility" bottle please! Congratulations, Team India, for shutting up the mouths of all the doubters out there. Keep up your fighting spirit in the limited overs games.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:02 GMT)

So according to some comments Graeme telling the truth is a bad thing??? Hmmmm.

Posted by Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on (January 6, 2011, 21:59 GMT)

For one moment I thought Smith was crying there looking at the still in the media player. No wonder SA didn't win this series. A captain who doesn't have a measure of the situation will take down the team's fortunes with him. People ask, "What is the role of a captain? A Captain is just as good as the team". As true as it might seem, there is what is called strategy and the ability to look at the reality as it stands. That's what defines the difference between a namesake Captain and a Great Captain who is thinking through the match. As much as I love South Africa for giving us Gary Kirsten, Graeme is just unreal. So, the first test win, thanks to the flattest conditions we have seen in this series while SA were batting, was a great win. But on a wicket where he too fancied his hand as a bowler is flat. Bhai wah! This is hilarious! Indian Batsmen played out of their skins to give the match its next best result. (to be continued)

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 21:53 GMT)

Lol these Indian fans need to calm down. Smith sounded very humble saying ' no need in fooling ourselves into thinking we're better than we are" The pitch did flatten out eventually but he did maintaain that it gave both teams a chane over the course of the match

Posted by Jeysan on (January 6, 2011, 21:49 GMT)

Ok,lets get this straight Mr Smith. On a track you call flat,comfortably forgetting that it was the same track that allowed your tailenders to score good runs,you couldnt get the wickets out. When the playing conditions were even @ Durban,Dhoni's boys thumped you. It was only the conditions,ONLY THE treachorous conditions@ Centurion on the first day - that saved this series for you. So you have nothing to rue about and be happy that you didnt get a 0 - 2 drubbing but a 1-1 instead. Now take your coach,who if not big has an attitude the same as you,and start focussing how to stay past Zak's first spell in the 5 ODI's.Else you will end up making Cullinan pale in comparison as SA"s eternal bunny :-)

Posted by luvindia on (January 6, 2011, 21:38 GMT)

In First match, toss played a big role so it was one sided. Next two matches toss didn't play a role, so the BETTER TEAM WON(INDIA) most of the moments. Grow up Smith. Please don't do the Ponting (complaining pitches and other elements). Actually you are saved by the flat pitch. If pitch was not flat, your team wouldn't have posted 340 as target. Accept the fact that you don't have an attack to win matches in newlands type of pitches. I thought your attack is green track bullies, but changed my mind after durban loss. It sounds like your attack is neither flat track bullies nor green track bullies. Hope you will sleep well tonight, Zak is not going to bowl to you tomorrow.

Posted by johnsrini on (January 6, 2011, 21:29 GMT)

''Its good for cricket that the top four teams are competitive'' said Smith. Which team did he leave out , Srilanka or Australia? Comments are welcome.

Posted by the_blue_android on (January 6, 2011, 21:23 GMT)

Yeah Yeah Yeah. He got the same pitch where his tailenders scored 200 runs. If the pitch did more, he would have had a lead of 200 and then lost the game. This guy continues to amaze me. He is so full of himself yet an average batsmen and a mediocre captain.

Posted by Baria00 on (January 6, 2011, 21:17 GMT)

Smith was arrogant at beginning of the series..i really think if not for kallis, smith would have to eat his words about the indians not playing well on bouncy tracks..u can see through the series that even SA was not good enough for these pitches..this is a very resilient indian team and it really showed its characters after the first was a great series between two deservedly 1 and 2 in world. also this series was good for bhajji's bowling confidence..would love to see RP Singh back in this test squad..someone really needs to work with the block b/c he is a really good player..ODI should be fun to watch..

Posted by Soflacric on (January 6, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

C'mon Smith-at least show some humility here. If you blame the pitch here, you should have acknowledged that you won the 1st test under great assistance for your bowlers on Day 1. That was the best day for SA during this series. If Harbhajan could get 7 wickets on Days 3 &4, what did Harris do? Even you tried to bowl a few overs because the pitch was assisting spinners. If not for Kallis & Steyn, Dhoni would be holding the trophy today. Any updates on your plans to handle Zaheer Khan in the future. I'm sure you would NOT be treating him like any other bowler as you mentioned ahead of the 2nd test. You could learn a thing or two from Dhoni. He may not be a great captain, but has shown a lot of humility even in wins. Just ask your fellow countryman-Gary Kirsten. As for Pollock's prediction that it would be impossible for India to comeback from 1st test defeat…they did just that. That's one of the reasons why India is No.1. Ditto for Kepler Wessels' prediction on a SA win.

Posted by pvrahul on (January 6, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

Although the series is drawn on paper, India must be far more delighted than SA. Despite their rankings, India weren't favoured to overcome SA in their backyard. They did well to level the series and except for the first test and the 4th day of the third, they have played like what one expects from the number one team in the world. If keep up the momentum for the T20s and ODIs, it should leave them in a very good frame of mind come the world cup back home.

Posted by Maverick79 on (January 6, 2011, 20:41 GMT)

Sorry Smith, the only team that had a chance to win this test on the field was India when you were 6 down for 130 something. You guys saved the game by scoring 340 odd. Indian batting never was in trouble today. They did what was expected. Only a few SA commentators thought you guys would win today. The failure to make India bat yesterday for at least seven overs cost you the match. Smith played safe and helped India out as well. Thats what having a player like Sehwag can do, in spite of not being in form, the opposition can't get his exploits out of their mind. Finally India have shoved Smiths pre-series comments back from where it came. Mr Corrie Van-Zyl, who said history is something thats bound to happen again. History will always remain history to champions. India have shown you and your captain that. I'm pretty sure India will conquer SA in their den even without greats. Steyn and Morkel threatened for sure but India were not blown by them. Sree and Zaheer too matched them.

Posted by iyeranan on (January 6, 2011, 20:39 GMT)

Mr. Smith: How much did you score on this so-called 'FLAT' wicket?

Posted by cooljack_143 on (January 6, 2011, 20:33 GMT)

please tell me, what didnt Smith rue till now??????? .he always rues.

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South Africa v India at Centurion - Jan 23, 2011
South Africa won by 33 runs (D/L method)
South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth - Jan 21, 2011
South Africa won by 48 runs (D/L method)
South Africa v India at Cape Town - Jan 18, 2011
India won by 2 wickets (with 10 balls remaining)
South Africa v India at Johannesburg - Jan 15, 2011
India won by 1 run
South Africa v India at Durban - Jan 12, 2011
South Africa won by 135 runs
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