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Acerbic SA skipper adds spice to needle contest

cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2010 00:42 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Call it mind games if you want, South Africa made it a point to add insult to India's injury.

After completing a massive win on Monday, Graeme Smith questioned Sachin Tendulkar's approach on the last day of the first Test, suggesting the latter didn't put up enough resistance to avert the imminent defeat.

"He's obviously a fantastic player and getting 50 centuries is a huge achievement. He played really well for his hundred yesterday (Sunday), but I was honestly surprised at how easy he made it for us this morning," he said. Smith was referring to the fact that Tendulkar didn't make much effort to take maximum strike and shield Sreesanth and Jaydev Unadakat from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Almost every South African player had agreed that the first day's damp wicket had put India in a disadvantage, but Smith refused to sound generous. "Winning the toss was definitely a positive, but I don't think the wicket did that much. India's couldn't have expected more from the wicket than what happened.

The batsmen were very tentative and were mostly on the back-foot. Our bowlers bowled well to get the best out of it," he said.

Jacques Kallis chipped in, though he was drawn into it by an unpleasant query that he didn't applaud Tendulkar when the latter reached the historic century. "I did applaud him; it's indeed a fantastic achievement. But I think our guys have also achieved a lot and they too need some recognition," said the visibly upset Kallis. Smith added, "We seem to fly a little bit under the radar. Our achievements have been outstanding over the last few years. We have won in Australia, England and came quite close in India. It's again going to be another achievement if we win this series."

Finally, Smith declared that India would be pressure. "When you are one down in a three-match series, there's always an extra pressure. The next match becomes crucial and there's a lot of pressure in terms of making right decisions."

With verbal exchanges already on, things are set to hot up.

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