‘Perfect start to summer’ - SmithComment on this story
Proteas captain Graeme Smith wants his side to use their crushing first Test victory over New Zealand as a platform for 2013 after being the dominant team in world cricket the previous 12 months.
South Africa earned an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series after thrashing the Black Caps by an innings and 27 runs inside three days.
It was a near-perfect performance bar a couple of dropped catches, with both bowling and batting units executing their gameplans.
“It’s a perfect start to our summer at home. There is a good degree of confidence in the squad which enables you to play that way.
“The guys have good performances behind them and that comes out. It’s a lot easier to play that way if you have the confidence.
“Obviously we would like to build on that momentum created in 2012,” Smith said.
Trailing by 302 runs after the first innings, New Zealand showed greater resolve in their second turn at bat through a Dean Brownlie maiden Test century.
The Proteas bowlers were required to put in a lot more yards after only bowling 19.2 overs on the first day when Man of the Match Vernon Philander had the new ball on a string to claim 5/7.
Yesterday, it was the advent of the second cherry that had New Zealand on the hop again.
“Looking up at the scoreboard on the first day it brought back memories of last year against Australia. I couldn’t quite believe that it was happening again.
“I remember Australia were 28/9 and now New Zealand were 27/6. I thought both our new ball spells in this game was excellent.
“Even today with the second new ball. The intensity we showed was really good and it was very good bowling performance from us,” Smith said.
But Philander was forced to leave the field before the final wicket had fallen yesterday.
His dodgy hamstring, which was a cause of concern prior to this Test flared up again, although the star opening bowler played down the fear of missing the second Test, saying he felt the irritation slightly lower down in his left leg than where it was previously and “hoped” it was only stiffness.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s skipper was forced to focus on the few positives to emerge from this Test.
“It is very disappointing to lose a Test match in three days,” Brendan McCullum said.
“There is a very disappointed bunch of lads in the changeroom, but I’m proud of the way they showed some resilience at times and managed to absorb some of the presure applied on us.