Time to man up, says AB

2011-12-13 00:00

AFTER their disappointing home series against Australia, where the visitors won the final Test to draw the series, the Proteas will be hoping to bounce back in the first Test against Sri Lanka starting in Pretoria on Thursday.

Star batsman AB de Villiers says that to achieve this the Proteas will be out to play a good brand of cricket over a sustained period of time.

Speaking ahead of the Test, De Villiers said the Proteas are still one of the top teams in the world, despite not having won their last three home series’.

“South Africa is a proud cricketing nation and the current Proteas squad are blessed with a lot of quality.

“The problem is that we have not been able to react well in pressure situations.

“We were presented with an opportunity to beat Australia at home for the first time in 30 years and we failed,” said De Villiers.

The Proteas have an opportunity to strengthen their position as the second-best Test team in the world should they win the Sri Lanka series.

But De Villiers added that the Proteas have a lot of work cut out for them over the next few days.

“We haven’t played against Sri Lanka in a long time. Watching their recent series against Pakistan, I didn’t recognise half of the squad. But we do have a lot of video which we need to go through and there will be a lot of talk between ourselves and members of the South African Invitation XI, who just finished playing against them.

“Former Protea assistant coach Vinnie Barnes will also be an important part of our preparation ahead of the first Test,” said De Villiers.

He added that the unpredictable nature of the Sri Lankans can be worrisome, and that the home side needs to approach the series as if the Sri Lankans are the top Test team in the world.

“They can be like Pakistan if you give them an opportunity, and nobody likes that unpredictability,” said De Villiers.

Although the Sri Lankans have a track record of struggling to adjust to the pace and bounce of South African wickets, De Villiers said the side won’t be caught out by tailor-making wickets for this purpose.

“We are going to ask the groundsmen to produce wickets which will be conducive to good cricket. We will rather back our skills sets, which we know are good enough to win this series,” said De Villiers.

After the first Test in Pretoria, the Proteas travel to Durban for the second Test which, begins on Boxing Day.

They round off the Test series in Cape Town with the third Test, which starts on January 3 2012.

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