Spinners controlled the game for us: Smith

By Avishek Roy, IANS
Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - South African captain Graeme Smith may have pulled the first surprise of the World Cup with a successful three-pronged spin attack, but he is not willing to reveal his strategy in the remaining pool matches.

Smith played spinners Johan Botha, left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and debutant leg- spinner Imran Tahir. He opened the attack with Botha who claimed Chris Gayle upfront in the first over. Smith also used his spinners in short spells that paid dividends.

“It is a bonus if you can think one step ahead of the opposition. We tried a few things and they worked for us today.

“Sometimes they don’t work and sometimes things should not be complicated too much. It did not spin so much today, but the spinners controlled the game for us,” Smith said in his post-match media conference after his side beat West Indies by seven wickets.

“We created chances upfront and then we put the new batsmen under pressure. It was a sort of wicket which was not easy to play in the beginning, but once you play yourself in, there were runs. It was a reasonable and fair wicket for bowlers and batsmen,” Smith said praising the groundstaff for a good job.

Asked whether he will continue with three spinners in the rest of the tournament, Smith smiled. “We have enough time at hand to think what we will do next.”

On his ploy of using Botha against Chris Gayle, Smith said: “We have been thinking how to tackle two left-hand batsmen as openers. We tried something different and it worked.”

“Tahir bowled really well. All the guys around him bowled tightly and created the pressure. The West Indies were well set at one stage, but we got wickets. It was not a conscious decision to use spinners in shorter spells, but I tried to read the game as the match progressed.”

Smith was all praise for AB de Villiers for his century.

“He was excellent. He has been great in ODIs. He is a terrific player and I hope he continues to perform like this.”

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