Centurion - Proteas captain AB de Villiers says he was impressed by the hunger and character shown by his players in the seven-wicket win against England in the third One-Day International (ODI) at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.
The captain believes the emphatic performance is a timely confidence boost after a slow start, with the Proteas needing to win the last two matches to clinch the series.
“I’m obviously very happy about that,” he said of the win after the match. “We were desperate to get a result in this game and it’s hopefully a sign of good stuff to come. It’s exactly what we wanted, it was a good solid performance. I thought we did the basics really well to start off with the ball in hand, we had good energy in the field and also did the same with the batting.
“You can always rate the morale of a side by the way that they field,” he explained. “We showed a lot of hunger in the field, a lot of bodies were thrown around to stop the ball, it was a great attitude. That always shows where a team is at, even though we were 2-0 down we had a lot of hunger to win the game.”
De Villiers was also full of praise for Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock’s record-breaking opening stand of 239, which set up a comfortable victory with 22 balls to spare.
“They are both in really good form at the moment,” he said of the pair. “If you get opening partnerships like that, not just 200-plus partnerships, but a good solid start it makes it much easier for a batting line-up to understand the rhythm of the game and to get the pace right. It freed up the middle order a lot and hopefully there will be more to come for the remainder of the series.”
The Proteas will shift their attention to the fourth match to be played in pink at the Wanderers on Friday, with the visitors still holding a narrow 2-1 series lead. The Proteas have a proud record playing in pink, and have won the last three Pink ODIs at the Bullring.
“We will start at 0-0 in the next game and try to get some momentum there,” De Villiers said. “Sport is funny thing, it’s always nice to win and you seem to have more confidence in the next game so hopefully we do show a bit of the same confidence in the next game. We know that in the game of cricket you have to keep your feet on the ground, work hard and start from scratch in the next game.
“We really enjoy playing at the Bullring,” he added. “It’s one of those grounds where you feel comfortable walking out as a South African along with a big crowd supporting us there. The pink day makes it even more special, we are not only playing for us, there is also a bigger reason for us walking out there. There is a bigger cause with the whole pink attire and raising awareness for breast cancer.”