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Smith credits bowlers after South Africa clinch series

CENTURION, South Africa, Nov 18 (Reuters) South Africa captain Graeme Smith said the superior firepower of his bowlers clinched the test series win over New Zealand.

South Africa won the second test by an innings and 59 runs after tea today to surge to a 2-0 series win. The hosts won the first test by a record 358 runs in Johannesburg last Sunday.

''Maybe our attack was the difference,'' Smith told reporters.

''To have three or four guys hitting 140 kilometres an hour consistently on the pitches we've played on, with the cracks opening up, always puts pressure on batsmen.'' South Africa's key man was fast bowler Dale Steyn, who took 10-93 in the first test and followed up with 10-91 at Centurion.

''He's bowled with pace and good control, and he has made the ball swing,'' Smith said of Steyn.

''The other bowlers have worked well around him, and allowed him to come back to strike.'' South Africa started their season with a 1-0 test series win in Pakistan last month and Smith said he was satisfied with how his team had performed.

''We've won three of our four test matches this season, and we dominated the other,'' he said.

''In every test match the top six has taken responsibility, and each time I've asked the bowlers to do something they've stepped up to the mark.

''We're on the up as a test team, we've got a few things going.'' New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said his disappointment had increased in the wake of his team's drubbing in the first test.

''It doubles up after the performance we delivered at the Wanderers, and how we thought we could fight back here,'' Vettori told a news conference. ''Unfortunately we delivered a similarly inept performance.'' New Zealand team manager Lindsay Crocker said Mathew Sinclair would replace injured batsman Craig Cumming in the squad for the three-match one-day series.

Cumming needed surgery for a fractured cheek and jaw after being struck in the face by a Steyn bouncer in the second test.

Reuters RAR RN2216

Story first published: Sunday, November 18, 2007, 22:33 [IST]
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