Proteas deliver knockout blow | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Proteas deliver knockout blow

South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla led their country to a remarkable comeback victory against Australia when the hosts won the topsy-turvy first Test by eight wickets on Friday. Wins after scoring below 100 in first innings

cricket Updated: Nov 12, 2011 02:03 IST

South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla led their country to a remarkable comeback victory against Australia when the hosts won the topsy-turvy first Test by eight wickets on Friday.

Chasing 236 for the win after a bizarre second day in which 23 wickets fell and parts of all four innings took place, Smith (101 not out) and Amla (112) put on 195 for the second wicket to stun Australia.

Smith hit the winning run just moments after completing his century to spark jubilant scenes at Newlands.

The tourists had established a 188-run lead after the first innings but were then promptly bowled out for 47 — their lowest test total in 109 years — and only narrowly avoided the lowest test score of 26 when they were reduced to 21-9.

Clarke unhappy
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who scored 151 in their first innings, was extremely critical of his team's performance.

“We played disgraceful shots and our execution with the ball today wasn't great,” he said during the presentation ceremony after the game.

“We've got a lot of work to do before the next test on Thursday.

“(My century) was useless, it was a waste of time. You want to help your team win. I'll certainly forget about it very quickly. I guarantee you this is one tough time for that team up there.”

Australia's attack bowled well in the first hour as South Africa resumed on 81 for one, and were unfortunate not to separate Smith and Amla.

But they lacked precision thereafter as South Africa's second-wicket pair seized
control.

Aggressive play
Smith and Amla grew increasingly aggressive, hammering 36 boundaries between them as South Africa won in 50.2 overs, four minutes after the scheduled lunch break, which was pushed back due to the closeness of victory.

Australia could have gained a foothold in the game, but Amla was dropped by Mike Hussey at backward point on 29 off the last ball of Thursday's play, and again on Friday at first slip by Shane Watson on 30. Seamer Ryan Harris was the bowler on both occasions. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/121111/12_11_pg-21a.jpg

A great comeback

South Africa captain Graeme Smith ended a period of personal torment and hailed “one of the great comebacks in Test cricket history”.

The opening batsman praised the resilience of his team.

Smith said the talk at the end of the first innings, in which South Africa were bowled out for 96, was less about motivation than specifics.

“It was about what we wanted to achieve. We never expected 21 for nine (which Australia were before a 26-run last-wicket stand), although there were a few jokes about 60 or 70 but I don't think anyone believed it. It was about a bit of direction and the bowlers knew they needed to do a job for us. “That shows the character of the team.”