Graeme Smith hit a century to guide South Africa to an eight-wicket win in the first Test (AP Photo)
Cape Town: South Africa captain Graeme Smith hailed his team's eight-wicket win in the first Test against Australia at Newlands on Friday as one of the great comebacks in Test cricket history.
Smith and Amla hit centuries to guide South Africa to victory by lunch on the third day, this after they conceded a 188-run first-innings deficit in one of the most topsy-turvy Tests in history.
Smith praised his bowling attack that shot out Australia for 47 in the second innings, setting South Africa a target of 236 after they had themselves been dismissed for just 96 in their first innings on Day Two.
"It was about what we wanted to achieve. We never expected 21-9 (which Australia were before a 26-run last-wicket stand), although there were a few jokes about 60 or 70, but I don't think anyone believed it. It was about a bit of direction and the bowlers knew they needed to do a job for us," said Smith.
"That shows the character of the team. We didn't just back off. Obviously there was something in the wicket for us but to bowl with that intensity was a good sign."
Smith and man-of-the-match Vernon Philander said Australia's Shane Watson, who took five for 17 to shoot South Africa out, inspired them.
"Watson got the ball to talk and we learned something from that. He was very tight on off stump. There was enough movement each way to create chances. We really focused on that coming out to bowl. I thought our execution and the way the bowlers bowled was terrific."
Philander, who took five for 15 in the second innings and finished with a match haul of eight for 78 in his debut Test, said: "I looked at what Watson did and thought, this is my game. All I did was bowl a bit fullish on about off stump."
Australian captain Michael Clarke lamented the poor performance by the batsmen in the second innings.
"Without doubt we let ourselves down with the bat. Full credit to South Africa, for how they bowled and the way they played today. Every single one of us needs to be disappointed. When you lose like that you don't just let yourselves down, you let the people who support you down," he said.