South African captain Graeme Smith hailed his team’s second successive series win in Australia as the finest moment of his decorated career.
The Proteas, forced to bat out for draws in the first two Tests, dominated the Australians in the third and final Test at the WACA ground yesterday to post a 309-run win and retain their top ranking in Test cricket.
The Perth win made them the first team in two decades to defeat Australia in Australia on consecutive tours, with the West Indies the previous team to manage it in 1992-93. England is the only other country to have done so.
“It’s hard to describe how satisfying this feels, to have done it twice is difficult to put into words,” said Smith, a veteran of 105 Tests, 97 of them as captain.
“One win here seemed a very long way off when we lost 2-0 back in 2005, but now we have won twice. It’s incredible — every single one of the players can feel extremely proud of themselves. This is the proudest achievement of my career.”
The series win also gave South Africa a six-point lead at the top of the ICC Test rankings, the biggest margin in more than four years.
They have done it by remaining unbeaten in 10 Tests this year, all on foreign soil.
The Proteas have not been beaten away since a 2-0 loss in Sri Lanka in 2006 and Smith said the lead had been well-earned. “It is nice to go home with a six-point gap and go and play in front of our own fans on our home grounds,” he said.