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Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Sunday, 20 December 2009

Graeme Smith frustrated at failure to beat England


We played the better circket - Smith

South Africa captain Graeme Smith said he was frustrated but happy with his side's endeavour after drawing the first Test with England at Centurion.

England clung on for a draw after Smith had declared late on day four, setting the tourists an unlikely target of 364.

"We played some really good cricket throughout the game," said Smith.

However, the opening bat was surprised at England's reaction to drawing, saying: "The fist-pumping and stuff like that - maybe it was a bit much."

The hosts came close to snatching victory after Friedel de Wet put in a devastating display with the new ball.


The debutant took 3-2 in four overs as England were reduced from 205-4 to 228-9, but Smith's side could not grab the final wicket that would have given them victory in the first of four Tests.

"There's a touch of frustration maybe at not getting over the line, but definitely not disappointment," said the skipper.

"It was a fantastic way to finish a Test match and I'm proud of the way the guys played throughout the game. We've really given it everything."

Smith felt his side had probably let the chance of victory slip away on day three, when Graeme Swann shared in a ninth-wicket stand of 106 with James Anderson to get England to within 62 runs of South Africa's first-innings total.

"We'd worked so hard to get there and we just let it slip," said Smith. "But we hadn't played a Test match in nine months and we played very good cricket. We can only hold our heads up high."

He added: "I was proud of the way the guys stuck at it. After the new ball this morning, there really wasn't much available for us.

It shouldn't have been that close - Strauss

"We tried pretty much everything in the middle period and it took a great spell of bowling with the new ball from Friedel to give us a chance.

"I said to the boys at tea, it is a crazy game and it's important that we stick at it. We've really given everything the whole day and there's still three Test matches to follow."

Smith admitted he had some difficult choices to make for the second Test in Durban, which starts on Boxing Day, with de Wet proving so impressive and premier fast bowler Dale Steyn on the road to recovery after injury.

"Friedel handled himself well and bowled with great energy, control and intensity," said Smith. "It was impressive to see and it gives some exciting choices going into the second Test."

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see also
England scrape draw in first Test
20 Dec 09 |  England
Strauss relief after 'crazy hour'
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South Africa v England photos
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England deflated by Amla century
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Swann inspires England fightback
18 Dec 09 |  England
Swann keeps England in contention
17 Dec 09 |  England
Kallis century frustrates England
16 Dec 09 |  England
Ntini reaches 100-Test milestone
15 Dec 09 |  South Africa
Ashes heroes land BBC team honour
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Live cricket on the BBC
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England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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