De Villiers: ‘Spin is key’

2013-07-20 00:00

PROTEAS skipper AB de Villiers believes spin is the key to today’s opening ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

This is the first of a five-match showdown and the Proteas head into the match with a three-pronged spin attack in Robin Peterson, ­Aaron Phangiso and JP Duminy, the latter proving a match-winner in the mid-week warm-up game with bat and ball.

Speaking at the R Premadasa ­stadium yesterday, De Villiers said he backed his seamers upfront, with the spinners coming into the game as conditions became more conducive.

“We need to believe in the mindset of playing two frontline, attacking spinners in conditions which allow us to do so.

“JP is an added bonus and is becoming a more than useful, wicket-taking third option, plus he brings stability with the bat,” he said.

De Villiers said he firmly believed his side had the potential to win games by using spinners, a far cry from the South African mindset of using all-out pace attacks as in previous years.

With former SA player and spinner Claude Henderson taking charge of the spin department in camp, De Villiers is confident of ­success.

“Claude has plenty of experience and has given a positive mindset to the team from a spin perspective. There is a belief that spin can be a trump card for us.”

Looking at previous showdowns on the sub-continent, it’s clear the hosts have a clear advantage. Of the 14 matches played, the Lankans have won 10.

De Villiers is unperturbed. “Such statistics serve to motivate the team more. History does not lie and we have a point to prove, an opportunity to turn things around,” he said.

“We have the potential, talent and determination to do so. The mood in the camp is positive and the players want to do well by starting on a winning note. It’s a challenging series, but we want to upset Sri Lanka on their home ground. We have the players and I am encouraged by the hunger of the players.”

A call on the fitness of quickie Morné Morkel will only be made shortly before start of play today. He bowled just three overs in the warm-up match and showed signs of progress yesterday during training. Fellow fast man Lonwabo Tsotsobe is also doubtful following the recurrence of an ankle injury.

For the hosts, Dinesh Chandimal (23) becomes his country’s youngest skipper and leads a team with vast batting experience, but slightly thin in the bowling with seamer ­Nuwan Kulasekara out with a finger injury.

Proteas (probable): Hashim Amla, Alviro

Petersen, JP Duminy, AB De Villiers, Faf Du Plessis, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Robin

Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Chris Morris, Rory Kleinveldt/Morne Morkel.

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