Castle Lager Proteas Test captain, Graeme Smith, has commended the way his team fought back to draw the first Sunfoil Test against
India at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday. The Proteas put in a valiant
performance to go within eight runs of a world-record chase, and will take a
lot of satisfaction after being behind India for the majority of the match.
"They were ahead of the game," Smith said after the
match. "I think they would be disappointed that they didn't win it. There
was a huge amount in the wicket they had to work with to win a Test match.
Knowing the mental drain that it takes to play from behind, day two was an
extremely difficult day to bat, and once we were behind it was always going to
be difficult to make a play.
"Credit to the guys and the ability that we had, " he
said. " Especially the mental strength and ability to find a way to get something
out of this Test match. I think we have done extremely well."
Smith defended the cautious tactics from Vernon Philander and Dale
Steyn, saying the team was fully behind their decision-making.
"Ultimately the guys out in the middle made the decision that
they thought was in the best interests of the team," Smith said.
"With Morne struggling to stand and with no ability to run between the
wickets and with Imran you're not too sure what you are going to get. We as a
team have to support the decision that Dale and Vernon made in the middle. With
two overs to go, and one Test match to go with an opportunity to win the series
in Durban, we have to be 100 % committed to the decision.
"The strength of this team is that there are good
decision-makers," he added. "Each guy is mature, have made good
decisions over the last period of time and have won cricket games for South
Africa. That is how we got to No.1 in the world, by trusting each other and
trusting our decision-making. Dale and Vernon had my support 100%."
The Proteas head to Durban for the last stretch of the tour, and
will enter the match full of confidence, especially after denying India's
bowlers on a sporting Wanderers track.
"I'd be surprised if MS Dhoni didn't feel that his bowlers
should have won the game for them," he said. "With 460 on the board
and with 130 overs, you have to believe that on this surface you have the
bowling attack that can do the job. 130 overs with the short turnaround in
matches there will be a few things that they are thinking about."