Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smith praises De Villers

Graeme Smith said on Monday his South Africa team will savour their victory over England at Headingley, where they went 1-0 up in the series, but admitted they are aware of how history is against them.

South Africa have not won a test series in England since 1965 and since isolation they have taken the lead in the three series they have played in 1994, 1998 and 2003 only to fail to go on and triumph.

“We are going to enjoy this moment (first),” Smith told reporters. “Edgbaston is a little time away but it is something we have been aware of all the time. The important thing is that we are on the up.

“Edgbaston is a pressure cooker atmosphere for any away team, but in the meantime we will relax things a little and prepare and hopefully play as well at Edgbaston as we have here.”

Smith and his opposite number Michael Vaughan both acknowledged that England’s below-par total of 203 on the first day presented the tourists with an opportunity to take the lead in the four-match series.

The South Africa skipper paid tribute in particular to the way AB de Villiers played for his 174 – “it was a man’s innings” - after getting booed by the crowd for his part in a controversial catch incident.

While Smith said England “played frantically” to be bowled out in just 52.3 overs, Vaughan admitted his side batted "like millionaires” before South Africa showed a more sensible and circumspect approach.

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