‘It won’t always be this easy’

2012-01-12 14:31

Rookie captain AB de Villiers, leading the Proteas for the first time in their one-day international (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Paarl yesterday said he had the perfect start in his new role.

“I’ve played this game long enough to know it’s not always going to be this easy, but it was a great team performance and that is what got me really excited,” he said after the Proteas trampled the Sri Lankans by 258 runs.

De Villiers admitted it was not the test he had been hoping for because the Proteas were on top of the game from the moment they won the toss.

“We were on the attack right from the start, so my captaincy wasn’t really tested,” he said.

“My hardest test is still coming and the real test will be when we’re under pressure and I have to juggle the bowlers and think more quickly on my feet.”

The Proteas got off to a flying start with a made-to-order century from Hashim Amla.

“Hash congratulated me and wished me luck at the start of the match and I said he could help me by scoring a century,” De Villiers said.

“He obviously took me seriously and went out and did just that.

“He’s a rock in the side. He’s been so consistent and he’s still young so hopefully he’ll be around for many years to come.”

De Villiers said it was not just the batting and the imposing target of 302 which worked for them, but it was a match where all their plans came together.

“I asked the bowlers to run in with the new ball and strike early, which they did. They ran in with force and made it work,” he said.

“It was key for us to run in and hit the deck hard and there was intent and aggression in our bowling.”

Morné Morkel enjoyed a career best of 4-10, Lonwabo Tsotsobe took three wickets, Robin Peterson two and Dale Steyn one.

The second ODI will be played in East London on Saturday.

De Villiers said they were taking one game at a time and that each match would be treated as a fresh start.

“What is good for us, though, is that we’re playing at grounds we haven’t been to in a long time and it teaches us to adapt quickly on wickets which are unfamiliar to us,” he said.

“We communicated really well in Paarl and got messages out to the middle even when we were batting and that will be key for us when we’re touring away from home.”

Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan said his team’s total of 43 – the lowest in the history of Sri Lankan cricket – was the lowest point in his international career.

“It was definitely the worst game in my career,” he said.

“Once we lost five wickets within five overs, it was difficult to come back but we batted very poorly.”

While Dilshan praised the South African bowling attack, he said his top order needed to shoulder the blame.

“I think they [SA] bowled very well, but we had bad shot selection,” he said.

Lasith Malinga struck early, dismissing Graeme Smith (6), and returned figures of 5-54, but only after Amla and Jacques Kallis had shared a 144-run partnership.

“We didn’t bowl well, apart from Malinga, but the others struggled,” Dilshan said.

“I thought it was a 260-270 [runs per innings] pitch maximum.

“We did come back sharply at the end, though, taking six wickets for 60 runs, but the damage had been done.”

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