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Lara: 'Kallis's batting was the best I've seen'

In the wake of South Africa's exciting win in the final one-dayer against West Indies to clinch the series, Graeme Smith, the South African captain, was unsurprisingly upbeat

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Jacques Kallis: took the plaudits with his sixth century of the series
© Getty Images
In the wake of South Africa's exciting win in the final one-dayer against West Indies to clinch the series, Graeme Smith, the South African captain, was unsurprisingly upbeat. "It was awesome, the crowd, the match, everything. While I was batting I told the drinks guy that I had never experienced a crowd like this before," he said. "At times it gave me goose bumps the way the crowd supported us today. It was electrifying. Maybe it is the start of something new."
He continued, "Jacques Kallis was unbelievable, while Jacques Rudolph supported him. Rudolph played a great innings giving the impetus to the innings when it was needed but what can one say about Kallis. A player of true class.
"The bowling was fine for the most part of the innings, but we lost direction at the death. The fielders also did not support and there were far too many twos run in the final overs. This has happened before and again something we have to look at.
"We thought that 270 to 280 would be good total to chase and seem to have restricted them to that. In the final overs we gave away too many runs, losing our line and helping them with some poor fielding."
He also gave some praise to the opposition: "Credit again must go to the West Indies, coming back from a disastrous start to the series they have made us work very hard for this series win."
Jacques Kallis, meanwhile, was also quick to point out the support from the crowd. "This must rate as one of my best innings. The support I got from the other helped me through my innings," he said. "We got about 10 runs behind our targets at one stage and that was when Jacques [Rudolph] cut lose to get us back to where we wanted to be. Also with the support that we got from the crowd one can only do well."
Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, looked at the positives, even though they went down 3-1 in the series. "I am very proud of my team for the way they have come back from near disaster to taking the series to the final game. They have worked hard and learnt a lot and will be a better team in the future. The way Chris [Gayle] and Shiv [Chanderpaul] batted today made me very proud."
He added: "Maybe we did not bowl as well as we wanted to today, but when Kallis left the field today I went across to him and told him that it was the best batting in a series, Test and one-dayers, that I have, in my playing career, ever witnessed. Six hundreds in 11 innings has to be admired."
He also pointed out Ravi Rampaul for his bowling. "I am very happy with the progress of Ravi, he has shown that he has the ability to go a long way," Lara said. "He has bowled very well throughout this one-day series and today gave more than his fair share. That second last over was excellent. He shows a lot of maturity for his age but with the loss today it was just too much for him as he broke down in tears after the match. He has a lot of pride."
Lara concluded that, "South Africa have had the upper hand on us this whole tour, but we have grown as a team and if we can take the things that we have learnt from this tour forward with us then it will strengthen our cricket. If, however, there is one thing that I want my chaps to take forward with them is the way the South Africans play the game. They play it hard, they work hard, and they convert every opportunity into a win."