South Africa v India, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth January 20, 2011

Smith aims to win key moments

Weakness against spin, two collapses and losing the key moments - these are the key issues that have dogged South Africa in their last two ODI defeats against India
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In both their close defeats of the last week, South Africa can identify common failings that they desperately need to work on. The two collapses in Johannesburg and Cape Town are the obvious ones, as are losing key moments. The way the Indian lower order finished off the tight chase in Cape Town was in contrast to how the South African batsmen froze in Johannesburg.

The less obvious problem that South Africa had, and one that should concern them given they are playing at home, is how they struggled against the spinners. In the previous two games, they managed only 167 runs in 42 overs of spin. Only 19 of those overs were bowled by India's specialist spinner, Harbhajan Singh, off whom they scored only two boundaries in two games.

All these will be termed by many as South Africa's traditional problems, much to their dislike. Not only to stay alive in this series, on what is usually the slowest pitch in the country, but also in the World Cup to come, they will have to overcome their troubles against spin, and their habit of not winning tight games.

Graeme Smith chose to focus on the issue of losing key moments, rather than the spin problem, on the eve of the must-win game. "Harbhajan has bowled extremely well," Smith said. "The nature of the wickets also [has played a part], they haven't been easy to bat on. India, too, have struggled to bat on those wickets.

"I thought if we could have got 20 more runs [it would have made the difference] ... we were well set up to get those 20 more runs … [but] the disappointing thing for me is that we have [lost] 5 for 30 and 6 for 20 in our last two games. If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up. Otherwise, we have played decent enough cricket throughout the vast majority of the games. We just haven't handled those moments where we needed to kick on or make the right decisions well. Those are the lessons that we can learn, and hopefully we can come out tomorrow and play with a good spirit and get those things right."

Smith also hinted that the announcement of the World Cup squad, which was always around the corner, might have had a thing or two to do with the younger players being slightly tense. "Now that the World Cup squad is announced, the tension has kind of lifted on the players and the way they play the game, so hopefully tomorrow we can play with a bit more freedom."

Smith said it was better for the young side to lose now and learn its lessons rather than experience it in bigger events. "Losing is never a nice thing, but there are some important lessons for us in the last two games," he said. "It's a good time for us to learn from those lessons now - take those lessons forward, keep a good positive and attacking frame of mind."

Smith looked more relaxed than he has done during press conferences on this tour so far, even though rain on the eve of the match meant his side couldn't train at the ground. That should hardly make a difference, though, because teams play so much these days that they don't need switching on before every game, especially at the fag end of a tour.

South Africa can draw confidence from playing in Port Elizabeth, where the side often gets strong and vocal support from the crowd. "PE fans in particular are great supporters of the team," Smith said. "We have got some of the most vibrant crowds in the country here; the guys really do enjoy playing here. The Warriors have been very successful at their home ground over the last period of time, and to have Lopsy [Lonwabo Tsotsobe], Colin [Ingram] and Johan [Botha] with their knowledge of the ground is crucial. We will certainly tap in to that."

It is a proud record that South Africa need to defend. They have never lost a home ODI series to teams other than Australia and England. Before the start of the series, they had lost to India at home only on three occasions. The tally could be doubled and South Africa will have to prevent that to keep the series alive. "It's exciting, it's an opportunity to perform," Smith said. "I don't think it's a time where you look at it and say, 'I have to perform tomorrow, I have to make a difference.' There will be 11 of us on the field tomorrow, and we have got to trust each other that each of us will perform our roles and we have got to be good enough to get us over the line."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gaithersburgman on January 21, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    I think Graeme Smith is an Indian supporter !! His comments do not help his own team but cast more doubt in their own abilities. He needs to take a page out of Kristen/Dhoni playbook and understand the psychology of the game. ODIs are unlike Test Cricket, where fortunes change in a split of a second and win/loss margins are razor thin. Graeme I believe feels more and more insecure after every loss, but wants to portray a picture of confidence in front of the media...thats why only excuses come rolling out of his mouth at the pressers.

  • Force01 on January 21, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    "If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up" ...what a joke!!

    Yes, Mr. Smith... and if you had probably lost the toss in the first test and Kallis had probably been injured in the third, then India would surely have won the test series 3-0.

  • on January 21, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    Is India All Set For The Greatest Glory

    http://cricketwithnayeem.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-india-all-set-for-greatest-glory.html

  • on January 21, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Wow...NOW SA has got one more tag along with Chokers. That is "Whiners/Cribbers".

  • cricfannmann on January 21, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    Guys , those who thinks the main reason for the loss is because only the absence of Kallis , India too missing its cream Sachin, Sewag and Gambhir

  • mattdav on January 21, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    @BravoBravo...although SA has lost the last two games you surely can't put them in the same category...NZ have lost the last 11 ODI matches and are more than 20 points behind SA on ICC rankings. I think that there is very little difference between SA and India in terms of overall team strength, but something that India have trumped SA in is spin bowling, and whats been so surprising is that they've trumped SA on pitches that are not supposed to be conducive to spin. Because Kallis is out, we lose a specialist batsman. I still think that it would have been good to play our three best players of spin - Kallis, de Villiers and Boucher in the subcontinent - but at least two of them will be there. Hopefully Tahir will replace parnell today at PE.

  • on January 21, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Re 1st loss: If any SA batsmen had hit 1 more run or Parnell's shot yielded a 1, 2 or 4 as well, and then we would not be having this debate. It was not as though India covered themselves in glory in that match besides spirit. Both sides struggled and frankly a tail ender swiping at a ball in a 2 run or 1 wicket to win situation is a toss-up!

    Re 2nd loss: More concerning. 5 for 30 = 6 runs per wicket in first loss. 6 for 20 was half that in the second loss i.e. 2x as bad. If we had collapsed 'as badly' in the 2nd ODI we would have had 16 more runs on the board and the result would have been as close as the first test.

    Lessons for SA: - Forget boundaries in the power play. Score the runs. Assume the field placing merely increases the probability of boundaries. - Take all batting power plays early with recognised batsmen hopefully making good decisions. A faster start can only add pressure.

  • on January 21, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    the main difference is kallis. when kallis will come than the other player will not under pressure to stay at wicket and no1 have doubt about kallis ability to play spin and boost the team

  • sasidev on January 21, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    3 fast men & botha are good. Worrying part is 5th bowler. Even after Kallis make his return they will need one to perform consistently. It will be better for them to use the second spinner also. Duminy has to be used bowl 6 overs if they want invest on his ability. Batting is main issue as Amla throws away wicket. Smith is showing no confidence; too much pressure on him. Devillers & Duminy needs support from two young men. Enough problems are there to fix prior to World cup.

  • sasidev on January 21, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    So far so good. It is is a concern all of fast bowlers dont show any quality in holding the bat for 5 overs in support to Yusuf or the one left with a chance to win a match. Once they will go for two fast & two slow bowlers; i think it will be a better batting tail. Piyush & Aswin are believed to be ok for 7 or 8. South African problems will only be solved when Kallis is back in action. Now they are short of two batters & a bowler. Botha can bowl. He cant be expected to bat for 15-20 overs. Batting does not show consistency for them. Hopes for another thriller

  • gaithersburgman on January 21, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    I think Graeme Smith is an Indian supporter !! His comments do not help his own team but cast more doubt in their own abilities. He needs to take a page out of Kristen/Dhoni playbook and understand the psychology of the game. ODIs are unlike Test Cricket, where fortunes change in a split of a second and win/loss margins are razor thin. Graeme I believe feels more and more insecure after every loss, but wants to portray a picture of confidence in front of the media...thats why only excuses come rolling out of his mouth at the pressers.

  • Force01 on January 21, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    "If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up" ...what a joke!!

    Yes, Mr. Smith... and if you had probably lost the toss in the first test and Kallis had probably been injured in the third, then India would surely have won the test series 3-0.

  • on January 21, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    Is India All Set For The Greatest Glory

    http://cricketwithnayeem.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-india-all-set-for-greatest-glory.html

  • on January 21, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Wow...NOW SA has got one more tag along with Chokers. That is "Whiners/Cribbers".

  • cricfannmann on January 21, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    Guys , those who thinks the main reason for the loss is because only the absence of Kallis , India too missing its cream Sachin, Sewag and Gambhir

  • mattdav on January 21, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    @BravoBravo...although SA has lost the last two games you surely can't put them in the same category...NZ have lost the last 11 ODI matches and are more than 20 points behind SA on ICC rankings. I think that there is very little difference between SA and India in terms of overall team strength, but something that India have trumped SA in is spin bowling, and whats been so surprising is that they've trumped SA on pitches that are not supposed to be conducive to spin. Because Kallis is out, we lose a specialist batsman. I still think that it would have been good to play our three best players of spin - Kallis, de Villiers and Boucher in the subcontinent - but at least two of them will be there. Hopefully Tahir will replace parnell today at PE.

  • on January 21, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Re 1st loss: If any SA batsmen had hit 1 more run or Parnell's shot yielded a 1, 2 or 4 as well, and then we would not be having this debate. It was not as though India covered themselves in glory in that match besides spirit. Both sides struggled and frankly a tail ender swiping at a ball in a 2 run or 1 wicket to win situation is a toss-up!

    Re 2nd loss: More concerning. 5 for 30 = 6 runs per wicket in first loss. 6 for 20 was half that in the second loss i.e. 2x as bad. If we had collapsed 'as badly' in the 2nd ODI we would have had 16 more runs on the board and the result would have been as close as the first test.

    Lessons for SA: - Forget boundaries in the power play. Score the runs. Assume the field placing merely increases the probability of boundaries. - Take all batting power plays early with recognised batsmen hopefully making good decisions. A faster start can only add pressure.

  • on January 21, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    the main difference is kallis. when kallis will come than the other player will not under pressure to stay at wicket and no1 have doubt about kallis ability to play spin and boost the team

  • sasidev on January 21, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    3 fast men & botha are good. Worrying part is 5th bowler. Even after Kallis make his return they will need one to perform consistently. It will be better for them to use the second spinner also. Duminy has to be used bowl 6 overs if they want invest on his ability. Batting is main issue as Amla throws away wicket. Smith is showing no confidence; too much pressure on him. Devillers & Duminy needs support from two young men. Enough problems are there to fix prior to World cup.

  • sasidev on January 21, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    So far so good. It is is a concern all of fast bowlers dont show any quality in holding the bat for 5 overs in support to Yusuf or the one left with a chance to win a match. Once they will go for two fast & two slow bowlers; i think it will be a better batting tail. Piyush & Aswin are believed to be ok for 7 or 8. South African problems will only be solved when Kallis is back in action. Now they are short of two batters & a bowler. Botha can bowl. He cant be expected to bat for 15-20 overs. Batting does not show consistency for them. Hopes for another thriller

  • ibbani on January 21, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    The scorecard shows Smith c, lbw or b - Khan. He is struglling to get runs. He is not in form though. Hope India wins 4-1 and go on to become #1 in ODI's too. India shud not be complacent after winning 2 on trot. They shud go for the kill. They will Byt doing so, SA will be very ashamed by not winning in test series (Drew 1 -1 ), lost in T20, and losing ODI series. Smith would be the 1st SA captain losing the series so heavily since their crocketing status reconvened. I cant wait to see India winning the ODI series today itself. Go India gooooooooooo

  • Aussasinator on January 21, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Smith is talking a lot, unlike his earlier days. That' a signal that the Indians have got under his skin or on his nerves. Doesnt help the team to win, since he's beginning with a complex, like Ponting used to, in his final few years as captain.

  • manojkrishs on January 21, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    I don no wat on earth smith is thnking...still he s underestimating our indian team..winning d crucial situation decides d match winner n loser..and india capitualted in both matches..he cant able to digest tat.."If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up" he gonna get more for his arrogant attitude..try to respect opponents mr.smith and rectify ur mistakes..speakin in mouth alone doesn't help...understand d reality..!!!all d best india

  • on January 21, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    botha or kallis should b captain for SA........

  • BravoBravo on January 21, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    I am not being too negative or sarcastic here. But I have to say that SA in ODI is no better than NZ. Apart from the team strength, the other mitigating factor for NZ's recent humiliation in ODI was the fact that they were playing on foreign soils (IND, BD). While SA is in playing in their own backyard. But certainly both the teams (SA and NZ) have least chance to win coveted WC11 trophy. Lets see what happens in 4th ODI (SA vs IND). My prediction it will be another one sided match. Another conspiracy theory: may be SA is not playing to their full potential voluntarily, in order to surprise their opponents in forthcoming MAJOR TOURNAMENT WC11.

  • faf78 on January 21, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    if SA can truly learn from these losses, i dont see them learning anything because they did the same thing twice in a row. with SA's 7-11, you wont ever get 150 out of them. since botha cant bowl his doosra anymore, he's no more a threat. he's a container. cant wait for imran to get a chance to play, so that we can see a proper spinner emerging from SA, not containing slow bowlers!

    thanks for the compliment krikguru, you certainly rate SA's potential to play spin (let alone quality spin) higher than i do! will always support SA, but have no hopes for WC, because of our spin debacle.

  • stevejohnson1010 on January 21, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    @KrikGuru, I dont think you follow cricket that seriously, Praveen has already been sent back to India because of injury concerns, so no point counting him. Munaf has done more than a decent job because of his ability of pitching the ball in right areas consistently. Ofcourse Ashish Nehra need to be avoided for last couple of matches if India want to win this series, selectors would be alarmed by his performces of late, as he has been selected for the big event, and looks woefully out of form.

  • thodati on January 21, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    praveen kumar has been sent back to india

  • thodati on January 21, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    praveen is in india krik guru

  • sudhs_107 on January 21, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    @Prasad38 -- Tahir is not a part time bowler. He is the best spin option for SA but, often neglected by SA selectors. -------------------------- @AsherCA -- So, you are banking more upon weak link of opponent than strength of your own players. Great :D -------------------------- @Ravi Wadekar -- Ya.. thats seems to be the ideal linup for SA. But, however, SA selectors doesn;t think so!! -------------------------- @Uday Modi -- Well Said. I am expecting similar linup.

  • Santyment on January 21, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    "I thought if we could have got 20 more runs [it would have made the difference] ... we were well set up to get those 20 more runs … [but] the disappointing thing for me is that we have [lost] 5 for 30 and 6 for 20 in our last two games. If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up". If that could have been the case Mr Smith,may be Indian openers would have made all the needed runs then. SA lost 5 and 6 wickets cheaply, Indian bowlers didnt do well. Lame excuses lol..

  • Balajipost on January 21, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Guys, watch out for Albie. India has to get past him if they have to win this one. I am sire SA are going to play him as the all rounder in the next two games. If not, they have themselves to blame for the consequences

  • on January 21, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    @KrikGuru Praveen is injured and he is in India now nursing his injury.

  • indianzen on January 21, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    The difference between the 2 sides are the allrounders, Parnel and Botha are better than the So called indian Alrounders - Bajji and Yusuf, but the difference is the form in which they are. I would say better drop Nehra and bring in Ashwin, Having seen in IPL 2, I feel that Ashwin can do wonders in SA with his variation and Carrom ball. Nehra better bring water bottles during drinks...

  • sudhs_107 on January 21, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    @KrikGuru --- Praveen Kumar is out of the squad due to injury. And Manaf is doing extremely well for now. But, Nehra should be replaced with Ashwin or Piyush. I think Nehra and Zaheer are same kind of bowlers (they both have same skills when it comes to pace, bounce and swing) with Zak being more intelligent (in the sense, he knows what to bowl when and to whom better than Nehra). Its quite useless to play Nehra alongside Zak. India should consider playing Praveen Kumar ahead of Nehra in the WC squad.

  • on January 21, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    All you guys giving Smith a hard time need to take off your blinkers. Both sides had chances to win the last two games, and its a case of SA losing them, because of various reasons that Smith has hinted at, rather than brilliant play from India. You have to blame a brittle lower order that collapses for 30/5 or 20/6, you can't just let that kind of thing keep happening without commenting on it. Do you think he should just ignore it and pretend it didn't happen? And please, don't bring out that one-eyed view that India should walk all over SA. These last 2 victories were very close, lost by 1 run and lost by 2 wickets, so keep some perspective please!

  • KrikGuru on January 21, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    Dhoni should make two changes in bowling Praveen for Munaf and Chawla for Nehra and hold the series . SA just have club level abilty to encounter real spin . Just need Chawla to bowl round the wicket leg spin which will take away the ball from the line , place two short slip and a close fielder at point and at the other end let Bhajji attack with Doosra !...... fish SA batsmen one by one !!

  • on January 21, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin. The third class bowling you are talking is not only tearing the South African Batting line up but has done the same to Australian and Sri Lankan batting line up as well the other two better teams than the South Africans. Wake Up!!!!

  • johnmcdonald on January 21, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    I think if stayen and Kallis were not playing in this season (both tests and ODIs), India would have won test by 3-0 and oneday by 5-0. Wake up Smith!

  • swaroopjammula on January 21, 2011, 2:16 GMT

    nehra is a good bowler and in the second odi he bowled well but his figures show otherwise.he should be in the team.but there is no chance for vijay atleast in sa conditions. @smith:there are many if's for India also mr smith.if you knicked one of the many balls you missed in zaheer's bowling,if duminy was given run out,if sachin ,sehwag,gambhir,praveen were not injured,or insted if no body was out giving a catch instead leaving the ball all alone,if India did not slide from 167/4 to 190 allout. you are a captain of a country and you talk all this.give credit o India who have fought very well.

  • on January 21, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    albie is a good all-rounder but he would not be fitting into shoes of wayne parnell with regard to parnell's bowling

  • Zahidsaltin on January 21, 2011, 1:49 GMT

    BIGGEST SHAME for South Africa is that it's india's bowlers who are winning games for them. A third rated bowling attack is tearing SA batting apart. Without Kalis they are bottom of the table. They have a long tail without any reliable allrounder.

  • Teej_onlycricket on January 21, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    how i wished we played 3 spinners and zak ! if SA manages to lose against spin it will completely derail their world cup plans. I some how feel 3 lead spinners should be tried once. you never know.

  • CricketChat on January 21, 2011, 1:03 GMT

    I predict SA will push this series to the decider in 5th match. From Indian perspective, they should give chance to both Chawla and Ashwin (rest Harbhajan) in the remaining 2 matches to see what stuff they are made of rather than worry about series victory bec getting the best WC squad is more important at this stage.

  • Runster1 on January 21, 2011, 0:58 GMT

    y is smith so cocky.....i still respect smith more than ponting as an indian supporter :D

  • vverma on January 21, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    The problem is that SA is just an average ODI team without Kallis. If they try to plug the hole in the batting department by getting a specialist batsman, India will destroy their 5th bowler. If they opt for a bowling all rounder or a specialist bowler, we have already seen what's going to happen.

  • BattingOpener on January 20, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    I am in full agreement with everyone ridiculing the "what if" nature of Smith's comments. It is surpirsing to see a leader of an international team talking like a street player making lame excuses for lost matches. Don't know if he realizes this, but he is insulting the opposition with his remarks instead of being a true sport and accepting the defeat. I've personally never seen any Indian captain talk in that tone. Look at Dhoni - he is talking about how his team shouldn't take these wins for granted and focus on areas for improvement in order to win the last two games. This shows that he respects the opposition even after winning two in a row. That's probably the difference between the two leaders, and the teams!

  • on January 20, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    vijay has to go , and nehra too kohili , rohit , dhoni , uvi , pathan , raina ,parthiv patel /or vijay , piush or ashwin ,herbhajan , khan , m.patel ,thats the fact s.a. can not play sppiners .

  • green_jelly on January 20, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    As one NS Sidhu would have said, "if 'if's and 'but's were pots and pans, there would be no need for tinkers".

  • Rahulbose on January 20, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    Well Smith is right, if they had just held their nerves then SA should be up 3-0 with the remaining 2 games being a dead rubber. But then that is the story of SA cricket in ODIs isn't it. Only question is who is going to drop the world cup this time.

  • rash9 on January 20, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Well technically Smith is right and so is every other team, everyone has option to takeout the 5 players from the team and say if this 5 players would perform we would have won.....wake up smith....there is no if's and but's. You said the same thing in last match that if the lower order would have performed, are you going to repeat this throughout your career.....instead show the difference

  • lakshya1 on January 20, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    "if you take this out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up..." - I think because of this kind of attitude SA is in the position that they truely deserve (ie 2-1). Smith, I guess is going to make the same mistakes that he made in previous two games...this attitude will not help them to develop an ability to fight back.

  • the_blue_android on January 20, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    "I thought if we could have got 20 more runs [it would have made the difference] ... we were well set up to get those 20 more runs … [but] the disappointing thing for me is that we have [lost] 5 for 30 and 6 for 20 in our last two games. If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up.------------What a genius. What an oservation.

    If a team "takes out" all the things which go wrong for them in every match they play, no team will ever lose a match!!

  • arun_cheers on January 20, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    ha ha ... what a joke - "get those 20 more runs … [but] the disappointing thing for me is that we have [lost] 5 for 30 and 6 for 20 in our last two games. If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up. " - If we keep taking that out of every team playing cricket, then even Zimbawe, Kenya and what even Egypt and Somalia cricket teams will beat the top cricketing nations like SA, Australia, India and England !!!

  • fanofindiancricket on January 20, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    maybe what Smith should learn to do is to stop making excuses,be a sport in accepting defeat,give credit to the opposition (not back-handed comments) and move on. If facing spinners is a problem for south africans in SA,imagine what Bhajji can do in India!!!WAKE UP SMITH

  • Ashu123 on January 20, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    another what if from smith. he really needs to stop dwelling on the past. it will only put more pressure on him and the team.

  • Shamin64 on January 20, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    SA deserve what they are getting.Smith does not allow his team-mates to play their natural game.He displays th same attitude as Ricky Ponting.SA were swollen headed thinking they will trounce the Indians.Ha Ha Change your attitude if you want to succeed at the WC

  • KENNETH2007 on January 20, 2011, 19:24 GMT

    Yeah would do a world of good if they remove vijay-patel in his place,if all the batsmen play the way patan played i bet india would win.....he was like an warrior who would not loose his ground .... and also like virat ...... he is also a fighter ....then , What ever smith says would be proven wrong....

  • zeus_kris on January 20, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    SA should drop Ingram. Open with Smith and Van Vyk, Amla will come at 3. Ingram is useless and has struggled against spin.

    Smith, Van Vyk, Amla, AB, Duminy, Faf, Albie, Botha, Steyn, Morne, Tso

  • KrikGuru on January 20, 2011, 19:08 GMT

    @smith : Son , there is no 'IF' in real life ! Life itself is a random process , so you need to go and make it ! ... otherwise you will always have an big " IF " in your life !! God bless you to say' NO' to 'IF' !!!

  • merules_abhi on January 20, 2011, 19:08 GMT

    Hi Smith, SA team shouls reshuffle batting lineup. Abdevillers should open instaed of Amla. Amla can consolidate and avoid collapses like what hapnd. Amla is good against spin too

  • on January 20, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    A depleted Indian batting side has shown character. If we add all the runs and wickets of both the teams in all the 3 matches RSA has the upperhand. But it requires only a ball or 2 and a boundary or 2, to win a game. India did that in the last 2 games. Kudos

  • on January 20, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    I thought if we could have got 20 more runs [it would have made the difference] ... we were well set up to get those 20 more runs … [but] the disappointing thing for me is that we have [lost] 5 for 30 and 6 for 20 in our last two games. If you probably take that out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up REALLY this is what Smith has to say.. thats like saying if i had 6 Sachin Tendulkars 1 MS Dhoni and 4 Dale steyns i wud have defintly won 3- 0.

  • cooljack_143 on January 20, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    Mr.Smith I hope you have not seen the current rankings.You are playing No 2 side in the world,probably No 1 with the current form aussies are carrying.I think you should be thinking of respecting the team and play to your calliber rather than critisizing the team for going up towards you and you want to be 3-0 up with this current team.With arrogant players,with arrogant shots they are playing esp Hashim Amla,develliers,they might be the best batsmen but should forget they are playing against top teams and decent bowling line up in zaheer and harbhajan.Good luck hope your boys make this series exciting by preventing 4-1 defeat.CRICKET ROCKS.SO DO THE CRICKETERS WITH RIGHT ATTITUDE.

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    Where is Van Der Merwe? He should've been an integral part of this SA team for world cup. He's a very tidy spinner & a handy bat at # 8 or 9. It wont be a bad idea to include him on the Port Elizabeth track which historically has favored slow bowlers. I've been a great fan & follower of SA squads since WC 99. They always have had a handful of all-rounders in their playing 11. Albie Morkel is another guy missing in my view. Tsosobe Vs Albie Morkel would be a good tradeoff given the fact that Morkel is experienced in Indian conditions with all round capabilities. For me their bowling attack in playing 11 should've >> 1)Steyn 2)Morne MOrkel 3)Albie Morkel 4)Kallis 5)Botha 6)Van Der Merwe.

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    Smith is a bad loser...how can the captain of an international team say "if you take this out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up"...cant he realize that without kallis his team is just as average as a team can be. Thank god he is stepping down!

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    smith is over confident person....he always under rated other teams and eventually he suffer humiliations....mr. smith leave commenting and concentrate ur game.......

  • FR3AKX on January 20, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    India must play Chawla for Nehra at PE as the pitch offers spin assitance and it will be a good rehearsal for the WC, Vijay must be dropped for Parthiv as this young lad has a lot of determination to perform and he has over the limited chances he's been given.. If the batsman can tkae some responsiility of scoring big runs this match should be much easier given the conditions and spin options india have.. CHAK DE INDIA!! Bring home this cup n that'll be a morale booster for the bigger one..

  • on January 20, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    @Alps999: Zaheer is no spinner and made Smith grin in embrassment in the last match after being beaten for a good part of Zak's first 5 overs! He was guessing throughout whether the ball is coming in or moving out! It was really embarassing for a class bat like him.

  • AsherCA on January 20, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    Alps, all that is required for SA to win is Ashish Nehra bowls 10 overs. He will give them sufficient runs so that a moderate 4 / over during the remaining overs will still give SA a match-winning 250. For a change, they will require the SA fielders need replicate Indian fielders on the field - stop everything & catch everything. ...and then, hope that Yuvraj & Pathan do not last beyond 3 / 4 overs or so. Any of them crossing the 5 over mark will probably destroy the SA bowling.

  • Prasad38 on January 20, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    SA having had a world class Bowling attack. . . .. still not completely trusting them picking 5 bowlers for bowling 50 overs . . . (Steyn , Tsotsobe & Morkel) & Botha are enough. They may use Tahir, DU Plessis, Duminy, SMith as a part time bowling option. giving each of 2 overs . . . .that will increase the depth in batting department which was kept failing in last couple of games

  • stevejohnson1010 on January 20, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    "I don't think it's a time where you look at it and say, 'I have to perform tomorrow, I have to make a difference.' There will be 11 of us on the field tomorrow, and we have got to trust each other that each of us will perform our roles and we have got to be good enough to get us over the line." Well, this speaks volumes of Smith's over confidence, and this is the only reason which is hurting South Africa big time. Man, you gotta respect India, they are a good side.

  • on January 20, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    That's a changed for better Graeme Smith! He always manages to snick in "ifs and Buts" in his otherwise fair comments. Mr. Graeme Smith, here is my "ifs and Butt" 1. If Raina hadnt played a rash shot in the 3rd ODI then ur 20+ extra run would have meant nothing! 2. If Morkel wasnt 6'4" and held on to a blinder at 10' high from Yusuf at 3rd man..than that would have been a six. 3. If Duminy was given run out which he was..u would be short 50 runs! 4. If M.Vijay stopped being a extra-baggage/passenger we would have had an Eleven member team, instead of 10. 5. If pigs could fly...if cows came home etc.

  • Alps999 on January 20, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Smith doesnt know how to play spin If sa wants to win d villrs must have score 100 and remove kohli and pathan early

  • Nampally on January 20, 2011, 13:51 GMT

    SA without Kallis is like a ruderless ship. If SA are looking for a better performance, they need to go with one less bowler and opt for a batsman like Gibbs or Prince.The lower order batting collapse has landed them 2 defeats. Secondly the Springboks are reknowned for their fielding and catching. Two crucial catches dropped in the third ODI cost them the match.Third point is Steyn & Morkel can only bowl 20 overs in ODI unlike in Tests.Apart from these 2 other bowlers have to step up. On the other hand India without their main batting line up have struggled a bit but are slowly coming to grips and are playing determined game.Pathan & Raina rallied the team from a poor position which was further consolidated by Zaheer, Harbhajan & Nehra into a win.Similarly in bowling, Patel, Zaheer & Harbhajan have answered the call and have raised their game. India has a golden chance to win the series tomorrow.If India gets a good start, they should easily put up a total of 250 & bowl SA out.

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  • Nampally on January 20, 2011, 13:51 GMT

    SA without Kallis is like a ruderless ship. If SA are looking for a better performance, they need to go with one less bowler and opt for a batsman like Gibbs or Prince.The lower order batting collapse has landed them 2 defeats. Secondly the Springboks are reknowned for their fielding and catching. Two crucial catches dropped in the third ODI cost them the match.Third point is Steyn & Morkel can only bowl 20 overs in ODI unlike in Tests.Apart from these 2 other bowlers have to step up. On the other hand India without their main batting line up have struggled a bit but are slowly coming to grips and are playing determined game.Pathan & Raina rallied the team from a poor position which was further consolidated by Zaheer, Harbhajan & Nehra into a win.Similarly in bowling, Patel, Zaheer & Harbhajan have answered the call and have raised their game. India has a golden chance to win the series tomorrow.If India gets a good start, they should easily put up a total of 250 & bowl SA out.

  • Alps999 on January 20, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Smith doesnt know how to play spin If sa wants to win d villrs must have score 100 and remove kohli and pathan early

  • on January 20, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    That's a changed for better Graeme Smith! He always manages to snick in "ifs and Buts" in his otherwise fair comments. Mr. Graeme Smith, here is my "ifs and Butt" 1. If Raina hadnt played a rash shot in the 3rd ODI then ur 20+ extra run would have meant nothing! 2. If Morkel wasnt 6'4" and held on to a blinder at 10' high from Yusuf at 3rd man..than that would have been a six. 3. If Duminy was given run out which he was..u would be short 50 runs! 4. If M.Vijay stopped being a extra-baggage/passenger we would have had an Eleven member team, instead of 10. 5. If pigs could fly...if cows came home etc.

  • stevejohnson1010 on January 20, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    "I don't think it's a time where you look at it and say, 'I have to perform tomorrow, I have to make a difference.' There will be 11 of us on the field tomorrow, and we have got to trust each other that each of us will perform our roles and we have got to be good enough to get us over the line." Well, this speaks volumes of Smith's over confidence, and this is the only reason which is hurting South Africa big time. Man, you gotta respect India, they are a good side.

  • Prasad38 on January 20, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    SA having had a world class Bowling attack. . . .. still not completely trusting them picking 5 bowlers for bowling 50 overs . . . (Steyn , Tsotsobe & Morkel) & Botha are enough. They may use Tahir, DU Plessis, Duminy, SMith as a part time bowling option. giving each of 2 overs . . . .that will increase the depth in batting department which was kept failing in last couple of games

  • AsherCA on January 20, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    Alps, all that is required for SA to win is Ashish Nehra bowls 10 overs. He will give them sufficient runs so that a moderate 4 / over during the remaining overs will still give SA a match-winning 250. For a change, they will require the SA fielders need replicate Indian fielders on the field - stop everything & catch everything. ...and then, hope that Yuvraj & Pathan do not last beyond 3 / 4 overs or so. Any of them crossing the 5 over mark will probably destroy the SA bowling.

  • on January 20, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    @Alps999: Zaheer is no spinner and made Smith grin in embrassment in the last match after being beaten for a good part of Zak's first 5 overs! He was guessing throughout whether the ball is coming in or moving out! It was really embarassing for a class bat like him.

  • FR3AKX on January 20, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    India must play Chawla for Nehra at PE as the pitch offers spin assitance and it will be a good rehearsal for the WC, Vijay must be dropped for Parthiv as this young lad has a lot of determination to perform and he has over the limited chances he's been given.. If the batsman can tkae some responsiility of scoring big runs this match should be much easier given the conditions and spin options india have.. CHAK DE INDIA!! Bring home this cup n that'll be a morale booster for the bigger one..

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    smith is over confident person....he always under rated other teams and eventually he suffer humiliations....mr. smith leave commenting and concentrate ur game.......

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    Smith is a bad loser...how can the captain of an international team say "if you take this out of our game, we would probably be 3-0 up"...cant he realize that without kallis his team is just as average as a team can be. Thank god he is stepping down!