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Thu Apr 24 16:19:43 SAST 2014

It's an extremely proud moment for all of us, says Smith

TEAMtalk Media | 24 July, 2012 05:590 Comments
England v South Africa: 1st Investec Test - Day Five
Victorious captain Graeme Smith of South Africa leaves the fied with Morne Morkel after winning the test during day 5 of the 1st Investec Test Match between England and South Africa at The Kia Oval on July 23, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Tom Shaw / Getty Images

Captain Graeme Smith delighted in victory after South Africa shrugged off an inadequate start to the first Test against England, ultimately triumphing by an innings and 12 runs on day five at The Oval on Monday.

With their preparations hampered by rain during their two tour fixtures prior to series opener, and the loss of veteran wicketkeeper-batsman and fast bowler Marchant de Lange to injury, the Proteas went into the clash as underdogs.

Their so-called rustiness in the wake of the off-season showed, too, when they conceded a formidable total of 267 for three on day one. The tourists, however, later bounced back - and resigned the opposition's first innings to 385 all out.

Hashim Amla then amassed a record-breaking triple-century, while Smith and Jacques Kallis weighed in with tons en route to a hefty total of 637 for two declared.

England's final response was entirely feeble, ending on 240 all out as Dale Steyn clinched a second-innings five-wicket haul to give his side first blood of the three-match series.

"It's certainly an extremely proud moment for all of us to have achieved a Test victory in the first Test of what is a big series and play as well as we have," enthused Smith.

"In the context of the first innings to come back and win the game is an incredible achievement. I don't think we were that terrible on day one when we lacked a little bit of that X-factor but we found that on day two.

"The conditions on that morning suited us but we found an intensity that we lacked a little bit on day one. We got a couple of plans right on day two and all credit to our bowlers, they set the tone for us in this Test match and managed to finish it off on a really good batting wicket."

Amla was named Man of the Match after becoming the first South African to score a triple-century in Test cricket. His outstanding vigil of 311 not out was orchestrated across two 250-plus partnerships - the first with Smith, the second with Kallis - and spanned all of 790 minutes, 35 boundaries included.

"I'm obviously very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be able to contribute and get a big score like that, but you can never do it alone and fortunately Graeme and Jacques were with me to guide me along, so it was a lovely experience for myself," said Amla.

The second Test gets underway at Headingley on 2 August.

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It's an extremely proud moment for all of us, says Smith

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