~~More spinners needed to win in subcontinent~~
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2003, 22:33 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Faisalabad: South African captain Graeme Smith said his country needed more spin bowlers if it was to succeed on the subcontinent, after losing the country's first Test series against Pakistan. Smith also said he would have preferred a three-Test series, but denied he was looking for excuses. "I think a three-match series is obviously ideal. I think if we had the third Test we would have performed a lot better because we were finding our feet, but this is no excuse," said the South African captain. "For a lot of guys it's the first time playing a series in the subcontinent and lot of guys have learnt a lot from these conditions and now we need to encourage more spin bowlers back home," added Smith, after his side failed to pull off a series- levelling win. Smith played two left-arm spinners, Paul Adams and Robin Peterson, but neither made an impact in the second Test. The Proteas also lacked any right-arm spinners. Pakistan batted with a mix of caution and confidence here to force a draw, winning the series 1-0, after needing 294 to win on the last day. Smith said the tour, which was very nearly cancelled on fears of terrorist attacks and was marred by a series of ugly confrontations between the players, had been an important experience for his side. Smith was one of three players to receive bans during the tour, along with all- rounder Andrew Hall and Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. "The tour was good for cricket, for the cricketing point of view it was a good tour. We won the One-day series but overall it was a tough tour for us," said Smith, who took over as captain in March this year, referring to the 3-2 Limited Overs series victory. Smith, the third youngest Test captain at 22, was left to rue a missed chance in the last session on Tuesday when Gary Kirsten dropped Shoaib Malik with Pakistan six down and 14 overs to go. "Obviously we would have liked to win but you cant question the commitment, our commitment was superb, with 14 overs left it could have given us a go at the last three batsmen," he said. Coach Eric Simons said conditions had been difficult but he made no excuses. "It is not an excuse that we were playing in strange conditions, we needed to play as well as we could and that's what we did," said Simons. But he said the team had not had much opportunity to prepare for the Test series. "There was no three-day game before the Tests and it was a big pressure for the guys to get up and play a Test here for the first time because pitches here spin on the first day," the coach said.