Proteas to rescue some pride

AB de Villiers (Gallo)
AB de Villiers (Gallo)
Cape Town - The Proteas feel there is still a lot to gain from the dead-rubber fifth ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Wednesday.

The series may be out of their grasp, but the Proteas will feel they can rescue some pride and cap off an otherwise disappointing series with a performance that does justice to their talent and skill.

“There is a lot to gain from the last game,” captain AB de Villiers remarked. “We have only won one ODI here before; we would like to make that two by finishing on a high. We are getting more experience of how to play in these conditions, especially the younger players. That will be vital for tours in the future.

“We would still like to get hundreds and some good partnerships with the bat in hand,” he stressed. “The bowlers have been playing good cricket and we just haven’t supported them well enough, there is an opportunity for us to show what we are capable of with the bat.”

Injuries have forced the management to play around with a few options this series, which has shed light on the lack of consistency in some key positions. This will be the last match before the trip to the UAE in November to play Pakistan, and will give some players an opportunity to entrench their place in the limited-overs fold ahead of the tour.

“Every match that you play for South Africa is an important one, regardless of the state of the series,” De Villiers added. “Every player in the squad takes pride in his performance and they will no doubt want to finish the tour successfully.”

Hashim Amla, who made a return to the park after missing out in the first three ODI’s, was relieved to be back, playing an excellent innings of 77 off 71 balls. His absence left an obvious gap in the Proteas’ top order, which has yet to fire collectively in this series.

“I’m certainly happy to be back in the team, especially spending some time in the middle,” Amla said. “The first few days were quite tough, there was obviously a bit of pain here and there, but I have enjoyed getting back out there. Even though I made a small contribution, it was disappointing that it wasn’t for a winning cause.”

The Proteas travelled to Colombo on Monday, where they will begin preparations for the final ODI. Blue Label T20 squad members David Wiese, Imran Tahir, Wayne Parnell and Henry Davids arrived in Colombo on Monday for their series which starts on Friday.

“It’s always nice to get a bit of new energy in the team, especially at this time of the tour when it starts to get a bit long, “ De Villiers said. “ I’m looking forward to playing some good cricket for this last leg of the tour.”  

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