The Proteas' coach Gary Kirsten spoke to media regarding the epic victory his team claimed against the hosts of the series and the #1 ranked Test team in the world, England. He sounded more confident than ever when he spoke about the Test series and his plans for the remaining two Test matches.
First test match was heavily dominates by South Africa, who won the match by an innings and 12 runs. Hashim Amla batted away to glory and became the first South African to cross the 300-run mark in the mammoth total of 637. Kallis also made 182 n.o. and captain Graeme Smith got his century as well.
The whole team is aware that the hosts will try everything to bounce back and will no doubt have an improved arsenal going into the next Test match at Headingley, but Kirsten is confident that his boys can pull off another victory, which is all that is needed to replace England in the #1 spot.
“We’ve got a great respect for the England cricket team. We know they will try and bounce back,” said Kirsten.
“We’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to spend a lot of time focusing on what we need to do to give ourselves the best chance of winning.
“I think we’ve got a long way to go; we’ve put our peg in the ground - we want to become the best cricket team in the world and we know what we need to do to be able to achieve that. This is just one part of the process.
“We had a good tour of New Zealand and achieved what we wanted to achieve there, and this is the next hurdle. We are 30% of the way through the Test series - there is a lot of work to be done; there is a lot of focus needed.”
Kirsten was then asked if the team could improve their already stellar performance at the Oval, to which the coach was quoted saying: “It was a great performance and you’re not going to always have it run that way. You’re going to be put under pressure by teams and the game is going to unfold differently.
“We think that we can go out and play cricket like that on a regular basis, rather than that being a one-off Test match.
“I’m not saying we’ll be 650 for two again but we feel that we can put in really good performances on a daily basis.”
Kirsten also said that he was really happy that the team was getting along so well and that that was one of the reasons the Proteas were performing so well - they were paying more attention to the entire team's needs rather than individual performances.
“We spend a lot of time setting up the environment for success,” he explained.
“People need to enjoy playing together, believe in each other and know that each guy can go out and make a big performance for the team.
“We’re trying to move away from the focus on individual brilliance and bring individual brilliance into what we want to achieve as a team.
“You certainly can’t hide the fact that someone who gets 300 for the team - it’s individually an unbelievable performance.
“But, as Hashim has said about 50 times since he came off yesterday, it’s all about us as a team and what we want to achieve. I’m excited by that.”