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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Ahead of India series, AB De Villiers happy with match practice vs Zimbabwe

South Africa routed Zimbabwe by an innings in the first-ever four-day Test match that ended in two days at Port Elizabeth. Stand-in skipper AB de Villiers is happy with the result

cricket Updated: Dec 29, 2017 15:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Port Elizabeth
AB de Villiers was happy with the thrashing of Zimbabwe in the one-off Test at Port Elizabeth, believing the match gave them some much-needed practice ahead of the India series.
AB de Villiers was happy with the thrashing of Zimbabwe in the one-off Test at Port Elizabeth, believing the match gave them some much-needed practice ahead of the India series. (Reuters)
         

South Africa’s plan to give their returning-from-injury players like AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn some much-needed match practice ahead of the India series has been only partially achieved.

After Zimbabwe crashed to an innings defeat in two days of the first-ever four-day Test at Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, the Proteas are still sweating on the match-fitness of their once strike bowler, Dale Steyn.

Steyn pulled out of the match due to a viral infection. De Villiers, also returning to long-form cricket after an injury lay-off, had to step in as skipper after an unfit Faf du Plessis, too, withdrew from the Zimbabwe Test.

Playing a four-day, pink-ball Test with Zimbabwe was a stop-gap arrangement after India refused to arrived early for a Boxing Day Test. India’s third and final T20 with Sri Lanka finished in Mumbai only on December 24. Playing Lanka at home, was also a late arrangement by the BCCI.

De Villiers is happy with whatever match practice South Africa got from the one-sided match against Zimbabwe at the St George’s Park.

“ I think our batters toiled really hard on a wicket that seamed around the entire innings. It sped up in the evening and we started losing wickets, so the guys will take learning from that.

“From a bowling point of view, it was nice to get them (Zimbabwe) to follow-on so the guys got a few overs under the belt, we bowled 70-odd overs consecutively which was good. Some of the guys got good results on wickets that you can’t buy in the nets.

“All in all it was a good outing for us, we will go out there and work hard before the India series but I was happy with the two days,” said De Villiers.

De Villiers gave a thumbs up to four-day pink ball cricket. He said the novel idea brings in a fast-paced dynamic compared to the traditional five-day approach, and teams can learn to adapt to the varying conditions that affect the match throughout the day.

“I think it was quite nice,” De Villiers said of the experience.

“It’s like any other format. You have to adapt, find ways, game plans, structures and strategies to get through certain times of the Test match. It looks like the last hour is tough to bat and that is an area that guys have to be aware of.

“We took some learning from that, it is an area where you need to tighten up as a batsman but on the other side the bowler has an opportunity to expose the batting line-up.

“It’s a mindset and awareness of knowing what times are a little bit better to bat on and which aren’t. There is room for day-night Test cricket, we love playing it,” said De Villiers.