Ntini-Steyn resistance inspired injured Smith to batJanuary 7th, 2009 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Jan 7 (IANS) South African captain Graeme Smith had no plans to bat with a broken hand but changed his mind after seeing the resolute display by tail-enders on the last day of the third final Test against Australia here Wednesday.Makhaya Ntini (28 not out) and Dale Steyn (28) played out 105 deliveries in a 75-run stand to raise hopes of an unlikely draw.
Smith revealed he had to bat in a borrowed pullover to halt Australia’s march to victory after Steyn was dismissed.
Smith, who broke his left hand in the first innings and was also nursing an injured right elbow, surprised everyone when he walked out in the middle to support Ntini stave off defeat with only 8.2 overs remaining for the day.
“I didn’t really expect to go out. Deep inside I didn’t really want to get out there,” Smith said after Australia’s thrilling 103-run victory.
“I probably decided 25 overs out, 26 overs out (that I was going to bat).
“I arrived here without any kit and had some pants I’d shoved into my cricket bag to protect my bats. I stole a shirt off Jacques (Kallis) and a pullover off Harry (Paul Harris) that still had his hamburger stain on the front left side of it. ”
“I had Morne (Morkel) dressing me and putting my shoes on and pads.
“I decided I was going to give it a go and give it my best shot and if I got a first-baller or whatever at least I tried. Obviously there’s a lot of pain. Once one ball hit the bat I thought ‘okay, that’s one out the way’. (I told myself) ‘just keep watching the ball and hoping that it hits the bat the whole time’. It was doing the best you can.”
Smith and Ntini looked to have done enough to save the match before Mitchell Johnson got one to jag back and bowl the Proteas captain six minutes from stumps.
Smith refused to use his injuries as an excuse for his dismissal.
“It cut back off a crack (and) Mitchell has bowled superbly all series.”
“I saw they were having a little group meeting just before that over and I was hoping that they were going to give the ball to someone else.”
South Africa took the series 2-1 following victories in Perth and Melbourne.
“We had our opportunities in the game here early on,” he said.
“We dropped our catches for the first time in a long time and it probably cost us the game. It was part of a great series, this finish, and it sets up a terrific home series in South Africa.”