Steve Smith: New players energised the team after the Hobart nightmare
Skipper Steve Smith said his newly energised Australia side can only get better after a spirited win over South Africa in the day-night third and final Test in Adelaide on Sunday.
The Australians ended a five-Test losing streak with a commanding seven-wicket victory over the Proteas, after being well beaten in the previous two Tests and losing the series.
The second Hobart Test debacle, where they capitulated to an innings defeat in four days, triggered five team changes including three batting debutants: Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson.
Smith’s recharged team chased down the 127 runs required for victory on the fourth day of the pink-ball Test to give promise of better things to come.
The Australians have a three-match one-day series against New Zealand at home next month before a three-Test series against Pakistan starting December 15, in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
“We can grow on what we’ve done in this Test match. It’s been a great start for a young group that have come together,” Smith told reporters.
“You don’t grow overnight. I think it’s a good opportunity for this side to play a little bit together and continue to improve and know each others’ games, get better as a team.
“It was a great start but there’s still plenty of work to do.
“Pakistan have been playing some good cricket, some quality players and we will have to be at our best to get on top of them as well.”
Renshaw, Handscomb shine
It was an encouraging first Test for two of the young newcomers, with opener Renshaw showing plenty of application in his knocks of 19 and 34. Number four Handscomb hit a half-century, took a great catch and then scored the winning run at his second time at bat.
“I thought Matt played really well,” Smith said of Renshaw. “He knows his game very well, obviously got beaten a lot but he wasn’t chasing the ball and he was keeping his line.
“There were some quality bowlers that nip the ball quite a bit so you can’t afford to follow the ball.”
Smith said he felt the injection of new players energised the team after the Hobart nightmare.
“I felt a sort of a switch straight away in energy and presence around the group,” he said.
“Everything seemed to be running smoothly and when we got our chance to get out on the field we had good energy and presence about ourselves.
“That helps in the field as well, as we were able to take some pretty good catches in this Test.
“It’s been great to have these guys come in and create that energy and have that hunger and character about them to want to win and fight and play games for Australia.”
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