South Africa all class in dominating performance
MARK GEENTY IN PORT ELIZABETH
The last time South Africa won consecutive tests in a series was against Bangladesh at home four years ago, and both victories were by an innings.
A mismatch of similar proportions played out over the past fortnight, as South Africa beat New Zealand 2-0, sealed by an innings and 193 run win at St George's Park.
It was all over 35 minutes before lunch on the fourth day of the second test.
Graeme Smith, captain of the world's No 1 team, said the series scoreline was a fair reflection of the gulf between the sides.
"I probably think so," Smith said.
"If you play two tests and win both of them by an innings it's fair to say. I'd like to think we outplayed them comprehensively in the series.
"We've been really professional bar one or two catches in Cape Town. We've played a high standard of test cricket."
It was South Africa's fifth consecutive test series victory, as if they needed any further confirmation that they're the world's best side, after going through 2012 unbeaten.
"Every headline you look at talks about complacency, and are we going to be up for it and perform," he said.
"We showed it's a professional outfit and the guys are really hungry to do well.
"After coming off two big series away from home [against England and Australia] it was very easy for us to idle along in these two tests but we haven't done that.
"The bowlers have bowled with good pace and aggression and intensity and the batsmen got runs, which is nice."
Fast bowler Dale Steyn was named man of the match in the second test for his haul of 8-65, which gave him 13 wickets in the two tests.
World No 1 Steyn sparked New Zealand's first innings collapse to 121 with figures of 5-15.
"He has a great ability to drive the bus through the wall if the batter gives him a sniff," Smith said.
"He has that killer instinct which is great to have in the environment.
"He sets the tone for all of us to follow. When he bowls like he did - that first spell on the second evening when he gets his 145-147kmh and swings it - it's really great to be in the slips and be a part of that moment."
Asked if it was a case of New Zealand playing poorly or his team playing well, Smith said: "It's probably a bit of both. In both first innings we bowled really well and we were able to create a lot.
"The evening on day two here we really got things together and once you create that intensity and pressure and snowball effect, it rubs off and that evening was where the game opened up for us."
- © Fairfax NZ News