The Stuff of Legend – Part 2

Last week, we had a look at the beginning of the Proteas rise to dominance in test cricket and although South Africa had been playing excellent Test cricket for a while (such as series wins in Eng and Aus in 2008/2009) they lacked a certain consistent ruthlessness that said “we are South Africa and we WILL NOT be beaten” as Graeme Smith puts it, the Proteas are now able to “skin the carcass” and although that might be a strange way of putting it, put some thought into it and Smiths words are spot on. A few comments last week suggested I may be jumping the gun and that a clean sweep of the Black caps is hardly anything to gloat about, well that may be true (although any clean sweep where all matches are won by an innings is cause for excitement) Winning series away against England and Australia for a second consecutive time is probably one of the finest achievements in test cricket especially since only one other team has done it in the games history. Last week we spoke about the indifferent home series against Australia and the satisfying series against Sri Lanka, it was now onto New Zealand then a mighty challenge in England where the number 1 ranking would be up for grabs.

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7 – 27 March –South Africa are tasked with a 3 match test series against Lowly ranked NZ, expectations are that South Africa will brush them aside and that this is just preparation for the

Philander again showed off his impressive accuracy

England tour later in the year, only two members of the current South African team have played test cricket in New Zealand, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.

Smith and Amla made no mistake in chasing the Total the Black caps set them.

The first test in Dunedin is drawn and despite centuries from Graeme Smith (115) Jacques Kallis (113) and Jacques Rudolph (105) weather gets the better of the match and the Proteas can not force a result. The disappointment of the 1st drawn test would be overshadowed by a 9 wicket win for the Proteas in Hamilton, Vernon philander again showed he is something special with match figures of 10-114 and Graeme Smith scoring a meaty 4th innings 55 not out to take his team to victory, South Africa were now up 1-0 in the series with the final match to be played in Wellington. There would however be bad news for Smith and his men and despite a massive first innings score of 474 thanks to hundreds by Alviro Petersen (156) and JP Duminy (103) the weather once again had the final say despite an aggressive declaration by Graeme Smith. The Proteas had won the Series 1-0 and it was more than a satisfying result. Captain Graeme Smith continued his rise in form as he finished as the leading run scorer with 282 runs at an average of 56.40.

 

19 July – 20 August –  South Africa’s next challenge was a big one, they were to go to England to play a 3 match test series (Basil D’Oliveira Trophy) but there was more at stake, much more. Should South Africa win the series they would overtake England as the number one ranked side in world cricket. The task was massive and would take a top performance by the Proteas,

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