Graeme Smith delighted with century in hundredth Test match
South Africa captain Graeme Smith scored a dream century in his hundredth Test on Saturday after coming out on top in a "battle of attrition" with England spinner Graeme Swann.
Smith, who will become a father for the first time next week, scored 131 in the first test at The Oval that helped push the Proteas to 403 for two at the close and into a position of dominance, thanks also to 183 not out from Hashim Amla.
Although Smith crashed his way from 50 towards to his 25th century in just 41 deliveries, he first had to endure a challenging period when off-spinner Swann made life difficult for him, often turning the ball away from the left-hander's bat.
His first 50 was his slowest yet, in 160 balls.
“"I guess in the next day or two this will sink in," Smith told reporters. "“Firstly, to have played 100 tests is a terrific achievement, but to reach a milestone like this is the cherry on the top - it feels great.
"“It was a battle of attrition out there really. I don't think the wicket has been free-flowing in any way. It is a bit slow and it was taking a lot of turn.
"“For me as a left-hander, Graeme Swann was a tough challenge. There weren't too many scoring options available to me so it was about being strong in my gameplan and working through that."
Smith, 31, nicknamed Biff, now has five test centuries in England, having started with 259 at Lord's and 275 in Birmingham in 2003.
He said he felt comfortable in England with the extra preparation time available and that the grounds bring out the best in him.
Smith was surrounded by a great deal of hype regarding his hundredth test before leaving his homeland but never considered marking it in such a notable fashion.
“"There has been this Biff100 campaign running with the sponsors and the charities and stuff. It has been quite in your face," he added.
“"I've tried to stay away from it and focus on the preparation but certainly it was a dream to come here and have the chance to do that.
“"At one stage when Swann was spinning it past my bat it looked a long way away but once you fight through those tough times it became a reality. It's so difficult to put into words."