CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA) on Monday congratulated the Proteas Castle Lager squad on their superb performance in beating Australia by 309 runs inside four days to clinch the Test series 1-0 and extend their lead at the top of the ICC Test Championship Table to a commanding six points.
It was the Proteas biggest winning margin over Australia in terms of runs since unity and their second biggest of all time. It also meant that they went through the 2012 year unbeaten in Test cricket with five wins and five draws during that period. Nine of these 10 matches were away from home and included back to back series wins over England, the previous No. 1 team, and Australia.
They also joined the all-time greats (England in the 1890s and again between 1928 and 1933 and the all-conquering West Indies teams of Clive Lloyd and Sir Vivian Richards) in completing back-to-back series wins in Australia.
“What a wonderful way to celebrate our 200th Test match since unity,” commented CSA Acting CEO Jacques Faul. “I would not wish to single out individuals in what has been a wonderful team performance from that has also underlined the depth in our squad from coach Gary Kirsten right down to our three new caps but one has to make an exception in the case of our captain, Graeme Smith, who has now won back-to-back Test series in both England and Australia.
“It was fitting that he should be involved in the final dismissal of the series when he took his fifth catch of the innings to set a South African record and to equal the South African record for the most catches in a match (6). He has, in fact, taken 10 catches in his last two Test matches.
“The Proteas have shown true championship class in fighting their way out of trouble when they were under pressure, particularly at Adelaide, and for seizing the initiative by winning all the big points on the second day at Perth.
“What has been particularly impressive has been the style they have brought to their game and nowhere was it better illustrated than by the batting performances of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers at Perth.
“They are not only a champion side but they play like true champions.
“I would also like to thank Graeme and his opposite number, Michael Clarke, for the magnificent manner in which this whole series has been conducted. The cricket was tough and uncompromising from the first ball to the last but it was always played within the best spirit of cricket.
“We are certainly looking forward to Australia’s return to our shores next summer. In the mean time we have a bumper summer of Test cricket ahead of us at home with the Sunfoil Series against both New Zealand and Pakistan.
“All the countries that have held the No. 1 ranking since the end of Australia’s period of domination have struggled to stay on top for any length of time but the Proteas have now cleared two major hurdles and I believe we can look forward to a period of their extended domination of Test cricket in the years ahead.
“With Dale Steyn on 299 Test wickets and Jacques Kallis on 12 980 Test runs there are also some exciting individual landmarks coming up.”