Proteas must win 'dead rubber' Centurion Test to outdo 'golden-age' Oz team's legacy

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 11:30 hrs

South Africa must give its best shot to win the final dead rubber Test match against Pakistan at Centurion in order to prove itself better than the golden-age Australian Test team, which was known for its ruthlessness, according to cricket writer, Rob Houwing.

"For many years, both before and during the Graeme Smith era, South Africa aspired - but all too often failed - to emulate a golden-age Australian Test team. But times have changed, with the Aussies now very much in a rebuilding mode and the Proteas the undisputed premier power in 2012/13," Houwing wrote in his column for Sport24.

"But there is an additional reason why they should seek to keep every aspect of intensity, and it has to do with the very Aussie side, so dominant for around a decade and a half, mentioned earlier," he added.

"For if there was one thing those otherwise formidable Baggy Greens teams-led at various stages by Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting in that order - had a poor reputation for, it was in sealing dead-rubber Tests," he wrote.

Houwing added: "Between 2001 and 2004, otherwise a particularly rewarding spell of global plunder, the Aussies somehow managed to lose five "dead" Tests after securing a series early."

"In 2001, Australia led the five-Test Ashes series in England by an ominous 3-0 with two to play, but ruined prospects of a whitewash by losing the fourth at Headingley," he further wrote.

"So that dead-rubber syndrome, a source of some annoyance to perfectionist Australian enthusiasts, was one slight stain on a more broadly brilliant list of conquests by their teams of that stellar period," he added.

"If Graeme Smith's class of 2012/13 can begin to forge a reputation for showing no mercy in remaining contests following the assurance of series supremacy, it will only aid their own desire to ensure a replacement legacy of long-term greatness," he concluded. (ANI)

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