Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/12/4/smith-hails-career-best-win

Smith hails career-best win

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 3:52PM AEST | by Gareth Morgan, Omnisport 3

South Africa skipper Graeme Smith has described securing back-to-back away series wins in Australia as the greatest achievement of his career.

The Proteas wrapped up the third Test inside four days at the WACA Ground, dismissing Australia for 322 in the hosts' second innings to seal a hefty 309-run victory.
With South Africa having cemented their status as the top-ranked Test team, Smith could hardly conceal his pride and delight at the post-match press conference.
"What we've been able to achieve as a team has been outstanding, and I'm sure it'll take a long time for people back home to understand it in years to come," he said.
"For us to win the 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."
Smith was quick to admit his side have not always performed at their best over the course of the three-match series, but claimed their ability to hang on for an unlikely draw in Adelaide filled them with confidence ahead of the third Test in Perth.
"It's been a tremendous effort to be honest with you," he said.
"Brisbane I thought was even-stevens, while in Adelaide we were under a massive amount of pressure throughout the game and for us to be able to scrap and get out of there with a draw showed tremendous character and determination.
"Coming here we knew we had a great chance to win the series if we could get it together and we did.
"Day two, for me, has got to go down as one of the highlights of South African cricket.
"The way we bowled and the way we batted in that evening session to take the game away from Australia, to follow up that on day three and then today to take ten wickets and put our mark firmly down in Australia, that was special."
Flanked by Hashim Amla, whose magnificent second-innings knock of 196 earned him the man of the match award, Smith described his side's victory as a triumph of teamwork in the face of adversity.
"It hasn't been the perfect series," he admitted.
"We've had injuries and not everything went according to plan like it did in England. We had to scrap and we had to adapt and our depth was tested.
"At times we didn't bowl well, but we certainly hit our straps in this Test match and we were superb.
"It takes a team effort to win a series and I think that's the outstanding thing about our team at the moment, everyone's contributing, everyone's pulling their weight and long may that continue.
"This is the kind of performance that I have got used to from our guys over the years, but it's important not to take it for granted because it was outstanding."
Smith went on to single out Robin Petersen for praise after the largely unheralded left-arm spinner weighed in with three vital wickets, helping the Proteas compensate for the absence of Jacques Kallis due to a hamstring injury.
"Robbie's played a really important role today," he said.
"He picked up some key wickets and I knew that he was motivated to do well.
"He's been around the squad for a period of time now and come a long way as a cricketer.

"To see him do well today and develop and play a key role in a victory, that will hopefully give him a lot more confidence."
The comprehensive victory shores up South Africa's position as the number one test nation in the world and Smith, who won his 105th Test cap at the WACA and scored 255 runs during the series, struggled to describe just how much it meant to him at a personal level.
"Right now I'm extremely humbled," he said.
"I hope the people in Australia respect what we've done and the way we've done it. For us, it means the world.
"There are plenty of people involved in our set-up that have taken many beatings on tours of Australia, so we know what's required to come here and be victorious.
"To have done it twice, it's difficult to put it into words.
"But when we get on that plane tomorrow night, we will have a really warm feeling having been part of something really incredible and special."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 04 December, 2012 8:31AM AEST

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