Graeme Smith backs team
South Africa fans were a dejected lot at the Wanderers yesterday after their country's cricket team fell eight runs short of victory in the opening Test of the two-match series here yesterday.
South Africa have been known to choke in crunch games and a section of the public felt the team lived up to the ‘chokers’ tag.
Not only were the spectators shocked that Graeme Smith’s men did not show any desperation to win once they got to striking distance of the 458-run target.
India vice-captain Virat Kohli was surprised too. “I am surprised and shocked that they didn’t go for it,” said Kohli, who was adjudged the man of the match for his 119 and 96.
Smith told reporters that they would not be successful in getting him to criticise his team. “You won’t be able to get words out of me. At the end of the day, we are happy with the result.
We came back in the latter part of the game and fell short by only eight runs.” Asked if he sent out any instructions for the batsmen to get a move-on, Smith said: “There were only two overs left.
I left it to the batters and I back them.” Centurion Faf Du Plessis, who scored 134, said he didn’t pass on any instructions to incoming batsman Dale Steyn.
“I was very tired and exhausted. I couldn’t say anything to Dale. I threw myself on the floor (in the dressing room).”