Melbourne: South African cricket team coach Micky Arthur on Tuesday said that his team was inspired by India''s "impossible" fight back when it was forced to follow-on at home to Australia in 2001 to effect a series win against Australia.
It may be recalled that a 376-run second-innings partnership between V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid triggered a historic victory for India.
Having defeated Australia both at Perth and in Melbourne, an outspoken Arthur, hailed his team''s mid-Test resurgence with the bat as confirmation of a "new era" in the world cricket hierarchy.
He described their first-innings effort of piling on 275 runs for the last three wickets as "one of the most incredible days (of) Test cricket played in recent memory".
"Not since India defeated Australia after following-on in Kolkata seven years ago has a Test match changed so dramatically in one day as it did on the third day of the second Test between South Africa and Australia at the MCG on Sunday. And only three or four times in the history of the game has such a massive change happened," he said in his column for Indian website Cricket Nirvana.
"There''s no point in being ''against'' Australia for the sake of it — they have been the champion team for over a decade, and deservedly so — but there is good reason to celebrate the way the cricket world is changing now. Test cricket has once again thrown itself into the spotlight as the greatest form of the game and India, and South Africa I hope, are at the forefront of the ''new era''.
"Australia will always be defending or challenging for the No. 1 ranking but India and South Africa are now very, very close. England will be close, too, and a tight bunching at the top of the rankings will give hope to Sri Lanka (look out for them over the next year!), Pakistan and even a resurgent West Indies," he said.