CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA) on Monday hailed the Proteas’ Castle Lager squad for their dual achievement of recording back-to-back Test series victories in England and on dethroning their opponents as the No. 1 ranked side on the official ICC Test rankings.
The Proteas won the series decider by 51 runs at Lord’s to take the three-match series 2-0. They now have 120 ranking points compared to the 117 of England. They will now have to defend their status when they travel to third-placed Australia for a three-match series in November and December.
That is followed by two home Sunfoil Test series against New Zealand and Pakistan.
The match was a personal triumph for virtually every member of the Proteas’ starting XI but Hashim Amla had to stand out for his century that set up the defendable target of 346 as did Vernon Philander who made 96 invaluable runs as a No. 8 batsman over the two innings and finished the match with two wickets in two balls to finish with outstanding figures of 5/30 to earn his place on the famous Honours’ Board in the visiting changing room.
Jacques Kallis also pulled off a huge performance on the last day, capturing a vital wicket and taking two catches, including an absolute blinder to get rid of Jonathan Trott.
Then it was also a memorable match for Graeme Smith himself, captain for a world record 94th time and achieving a new landmark in winning successive Test series in England.
The last day’s play was a mirror of the whole match in which the top order struggled against a newish ball and the middle and lower-order came to the rescue once the pitch became flat and the ball became soft.
Fortunately the Proteas had the trump card at the finish with the second new ball which was only needed for 11 deliveries.