Special Correspondent

Centurion: South African skipper Graeme Smith admitted that he had gambled while electing to field.

He said the opening bowling by Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell set the ball rolling for his team in a crucial game.

“They bowled with the kind of intensity that we wanted them to. They bowled in the right areas.

“I was impressed with Parnell. He bounced back today. The young cricketers will have their ups and down,” he added.

Smith said the pitch played slower than in the opening match here.

“It wasn’t easy and we lost some wickets. But we also went for it at one stage.”

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said the absence of all-rounder Jacob Oram — out with a hamstring injury — hurt the balance of the side.

“He is a top-flight batsman and a good bowler. We missed him. His absence forced us to include an extra batsman.”

Vettori felt the dismissal of Grant Elliott just before New Zealand wanted to take the batting Power Play upset the team’s plans.

“Ross (Taylor) and Grant were going well at stage. We fell apart after that.”

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