S Africa beat England by 10 wickets
S Africa captain Graeme Smith says that his side has "played the big moments better" after beating England in the second Test at Headingley in Leeds.cricket Updated: Jul 22, 2008 01:22 IST
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said his side had "played the big moments better" after a crushing 10-wicket victory over England in the second Test at Headingley in Leeds on Monday.
The Proteas' win, achieved with more than a day to spare, saw them go 1-0 up in this four-Test campaign following their two-day rearguard action to draw the series opener at Lord's.
On a good batting pitch, their bowlers dismissed England for 203 and 327.
In between, their batsmen showed a level of application lacking in their England counterparts, compiling 527 with AB de Villiers, who Smith said had played a "a real man's innings", making 174 and Ashwell Prince a Test-best 149.
"We played the big moments better, said opener Smith, in at the close as South Africa took just seven balls to score the nine runs they needed for a thumping win.
Smith added this performance was the kind he'd come to expect from a team currently second in the world Test rankings behind Australia.
And he was particularly pleased by the way his attack, where veteran paceman Makhaya Ntini looked back to near his best while fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel shared 14 wickets between them, had risen to the challenge.
"This was an outstanding bowling performance, there wasn't a lot on offer. There was a little bit of reverse-swing but we had to create a lot of pressure and we did."
"England played a little bit frantically in the first innings and offered us a lot of chances. It was nice to see our bowlers back to where they have been."
De Villiers had to contend with the taunts of the crowd after being involved in a controversial incident on Friday, where he appeared to be claiming to have caught Andrew Strauss despite replays showing he'd dropped the ball.
"AB in particular played a real man's innings," said Smith. "The pressure he walked out into from the crowd, being booed, was a credit to him."
This match was the first time England had changed their side in seven Tests with fit-again all-rounder Andrew Flintoff in for Paul Collingwood and, far more controversially, the Australia-raised Darren Pattinson making his debut as a replacement for injured fellow Nottinghamshire seamer Ryan Sidebottom.
England captain Michael Vaughan admitted Pattinson's shock late call-up did look "a confused selection".
However, Vaughan whose 50th Test as England captain, played on his Yorkshire home ground, is unlikely to rank as a career highlight, added: "The selection of one person does not lose you a Test match. We lost a Test match because we didn't play well enough.
"Full credit to South Africa - they went out and batted how you can bat on a Headingley pitch, and we really struggled to get them out," Vaughan admitted.
"As a batting unit, certainly the top five, we didn't bat well enough."