SA batting, WI bowling the key: Smith

PTI | ByTelford Vice (Reuters), Centurion, South Africa
Jan 21, 2004 11:18 AM IST

South Africa's strong batting and West Indies' poor bowling were the keys to the outcome of their Test series, both captains agreed.

South Africa's strong batting and West Indies' poor bowling were the keys to the outcome of their test series, captains Graeme Smith and Brian Lara agreed on Tuesday.

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South Africa won the fourth and final test by 10 wickets on Tuesday to claim the series 3-0.

"The pressure the West Indies were under was created by our top six, and I think that counted for a lot," South Africa captain Smith told reporters.

"We've got a few areas in which we're developing, and a few areas in which we're dominant, like our top six."

Smith also gave credit to his bowlers.

"The wickets have been excellent, and the way they have stuck to their task has been fantastic.

"I don't think a lot of people would have thought that we would have won it 3-0. We believed in our abilities."

South Africa settled the series when the third test in Cape Town was drawn, but Smith said his team had been determined to perform well in the last match.

"Before this match we spoke about the (International Cricket Council) ra|ings, to win 3-0, and the importance of not going through the motions," Smith said. "We really wanted to win this test match."

( Lara found some positives in defeat.

"I'm almost sure the batting performance by this West Indies team has been the best for the past 15 years, for my entire career," he said.

"Unfortunately it's also the series where the most runs have come off our bowling.

"The South Africans were scoring too quickly. The manner and the speed with which they scored their runs led to the 3-0 result.

"With guys like (Herschelle) Gibbs and Smith up front, if you don't bowl the right length they are going to get off to a flier.

"It's tough to lose, but the South Africans played great cricket. We played catch-up from day one."

Lara said the injuries that plagued the West Indians on tour -- four of their players were forced home -- had been another important factor.

"It's been a very tough tour in terms of of getting 11 fit individuals out there. We've had to keep some guys in cotton wool to try and ensure they are fit for the tests."

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