Smith credited his team for the brilliant job they did to help keep the country atop the Test team rankings
South Africa captain Graeme Smith has labelled his series win against Australia as the “proudest achievement” of his international career and the best win as skipper of the national team.
In 2005, Smith and the rest of the Proteas squad struggled against former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and the rest of the baggy greens, but just seven years later, Smith admitted that he could not believe he had lead his team to two series wins against Australia.
“In 2005, it seemed a very long shot to be able to achieve this,” Smith said. “I am extremely humbled, I hope the people in Australia can respect what we have done and the way we have done it. For us, it means the world.
“There are people in our set up that have taken many beatings at the hands of Australia. We know what is required to come here and be victorious. When we get on the plane, I will have a warm feeling to have been a part of something incredible and something special and to have been able to share with guys who have put in an immense amount of hard work behind the scenes to celebrate these moments.”
After winning the third Test by 309 runs and the series 1-0, the Proteas celebrated by having a photo session on the pitch at the WACA in Perth well after all the fans and members of the opposition had left.
Many of the South African players are also pleased to finally be returning home after spending nearly half a year on the road.
Smith noted that this was the start of South Africa’s legacy and he would continue to fight as hard as possible to keep the country atop the Test team rankings.
Smith also stated that winning in Australia meant so much to him since they had an outstanding side and there was a lot of history between the two nations on the cricket field over the past number of years.
“We had to scrap and adapt and our depth was tested,” Smith said. “At times, we didn’t bowl well. We hit our straps in this match and we got everything together. This was the performance that I have got used to in our guys over the years and it’s important not to take that for granted.”
South Africa have now widened their gap on the Test rankings and Smith gave full credit to his boys for the outstanding job they did in hostile conditions.
“This series was going to be the challenge for us to give ourselves the opportunity to lengthen that gap [at the top of the rankings] and create that legacy,” Smith added.
In 2012, South Africa played 10 Test matches, nine of which were abroad, and what is most compelling is the fact that they did not even lose a single match.
“I am extremely proud to be a part of the last nine matches,” Smith said proudly. “For us to win back-to-back Test series in England and Australia is an immense effort. You just have to look back and see how long it took us to get here. Now to be able to take that and play in front of our home fans will be great.”