Grand parties in South Africa to celebrate Proteas’ series win

By Fakir Hassen, IANS,

Johannesburg : The South African cricket squad will be toasted as heroes all over the country at public and private New Year’s Eve parties over the next two days following their first Test series win in Australia in a century.

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The visitors won the second Test at Melbourne after their historic run chase in Perth last week to clinch the three-match series.

An elated Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), congratulated not only captain Graeme Smith, but also relative newcomers Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, Jean Paul Duminy and Paul Harris for their efforts.

“But in the end, this was a team effort begun four years ago when the Board of CSA accepted a three-year strategic plan from Mickey Arthur to take the Proteas to the top and consequently appointed him as national coach,” Majola said.

“Since then, we have witnessed the captain and team mature into a committed unit that has set high cricketing standards in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australasia and the Caribbean. We have seen a united effort by all – players, coaches and administrators – to strive for achieving CSA’s vision of making cricket a truly national sport of winners.”

Majola said they are looking forward to the third Test in Sydney, the away ODIs and the T20 against Australia.

Man of the Match Dale Steyn was hailed as the hero of the day after he destroyed the Aussies with 5-67 in the second innings to give the South Africans an unassailable lead that drew praise even from Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

“We divided our objective of winning this series into smaller, daily targets and just tried to achieve that, thus focusing on the process rather than the outcome,” Steyn told the Afrikaans daily Beeld from Melbourne.