South Africa learn lessons in Pakistan October 29, 2003

Smith: Third time lucky

Wisden Cricinfo Staff

South Africa's captain Graeme Smith was left lamenting the fact that there was not a third Test against Pakistan, although he insisted that the recent tour to the subcontinent was a successful one. Pakistan won the first Test at a canter, but the South Africans started to find their feet as the two-match series wore on. There should have been a third game but it was cancelled due to security concerns in Karachi and Peshawar, the possible venues.

"We are making no excuses but a three-Test series gives you more time to find your feet especially in these conditions," Smith said. "I am disappointed at the result. But there is no question about the guys' commitment in the series, which was a very tough one for us mentally and physically." Smith also indicated that majority of his squad were playing on the subcontinent for the first time, adding "it was a new experience for us."

South Africa can draw a number of positives from the tour that include a 3-2 win in the one-day series, Herschelle's Gibbs' 98 that laid the platform in the first innings at Faisalabad, Gary Kirsten's consistent form with the bat throughout the tour, Paul Adam's magnificent spell at Lahore where he took 7 for 128, and Sean Pollock's 6 for 78 in the final game which helped him regain the top position on the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Test bowling rankings.

Smith added, "The tour was a big learning curve for us, the bowlers did a magnificent job on these pitches which don't help the seamers and I think our boys learnt to play spin well."

South Africa are now looking ahead to the upcoming series at home against West Indies which kicks-off at Johannesburg on December 12. The last time the West Indies visited South Africa they did not win a Test, a result that Smith hopes to repeat. "We will be playing in home conditions and on pitches which help the seamers" he said, adding that his batsman will be "used to the conditions".