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Cricket | SA Team

Something really special - Smith



The No 1 team in the world arrives on the shores of South Africa early on Wednesday morning, the victorious Proteas test team.

The Proteas have opened a gap at the top of the test rankings to six points after their 'come from behind' series victory in Australia, which followed a 2-0 series victory over England in England.

Proteas test captain, Graeme Smith, told supersport.com, "It was a tremendous effort, it was 'even-stevens' in Brisbane and then we were under enormous pressure in Adelaide with the way Australia scored on day one. It showed a tremendous amount of character and determination for us to scrap and get away with a draw and a lot has been said and written about that effort."

"I don't think it is really appreciated when you come to days like today and you see us taking ten wickets in a day, that days like in Adelaide certainly mean a lot more," added Smith.

Smith stated that they knew that they had a chance to win the series in Australia, "if we could get it together, and we did!"

Smith said that the second day of the Perth test had to be one of the highlights of South African cricket. "The way we bowled and then the way we batted in the evening session, in a way, took the game away from them, and then to follow it up on day three was fantastic," said Smith.

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When asked about the way he and Hashim Amla went about the evening session on day two, Smith said, "It was a conscious decision, we never told each other to stop. When I hit (John) Hastings for two fours and then Hash (Hashim Amla) struck (Mitchell) Johnson for two fours in the next over, the momentum just grew from there and we went with it."

"We recognised the opportunity and we were skillful enough to go with it. Batting with Hash is special because he has that ability," added Smith.

"It was not the perfect series, unlike England where everything went according to plan, we had injuries, we had to scrap and adapt, and our depth was tested, and still to come through is a great sign of things to come," Smith said of the injuries to JP Duminy, Jacques Kallis and Vernon Philander. The injuries to these players enabled Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar to make their debuts on tour.

"It takes a team effort to win a series, not just one or two players, and that is the outstanding thing about this team is that everyone contributes," added Smith.

"I am very humble, sitting here today, and I hope that the people in Australia can respect what we've done and the way we have done it. Many people in our set-up that have taken beatings on previous tours of Australia, now know what it takes to be victorious, we've done it twice and it is difficult to put into words," Smith said in referring to their last test series defeat in Australia back in 2005/2006.

"To win back-to-back series in England and Australia is an immense effort, and to come here and do it twice in a row, for me, is the proudest achievement of my career," confessed Smith.

"When we get on that plane tomorrow night, I know that I have been part of something really special, being able to share with guys that have put in an immense amount of hard work behind the scenes and celebrate this moment," Smith said of all involved.

The Proteas' next test assignment will be against New Zealand, starting on 2 January 2013 at Newlands in Cape Town.

"This series will be the challenge to give us the opportunity to lengthen that gap or to create that legacy. It has been a long haul away from home, with some tough challenges, and it will be nice to play on our home grounds, in front of our home fans and take that step forward against New Zealand," said Smith.

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