The Castle Lager Proteas squad arrived in Adelaide on Sunday, confident of putting right their shortcomings in the drawn first Test against Australia in Brisbane. The squad was honest in their reflection of their performance at the Gabba, and will use the next four days of preparation to improve on specifics.
“We took a lot of positives out of it,” vice-captain AB de Villiers said about the first Test’s performance. “We had a really good meeting after the game and we chatted about areas where we can improve and areas where we played good cricket which were quite a few. The nice thing about it is the fact that we reflected, we weren’t happy about our performance which is always a good sign.”
The players’ pre-match preparation started with a lengthy and intense training session at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday afternoon after a four-day break of rest and rehabilitation.
“We are feeling really fresh, I think it was a much needed rest for quite a few of the guys. I was mentally tired after the first Test match where I kept for a long time, and with the 29 not out at the end which was quite hard work, I think most of the guys felt that way (tired). Even though we lost a day to rain it was a hard fought Test match.”
De Villiers was untroubled by his chronic back problems during the Test match, a positive sign after Australia batted for nearly five sessions as they put up a big first innings score. His back has been well managed by the Proteas’ medical staff, and passed its first test of endurance.
“I felt really good in the first Test match,” he said. “We spent quite a bit of time in the field in the first innings when Australia were batting, I thought they played really well. They put us out on the field for a few hours, my body did really well to get through that. I think it did me well to test it out and to see where I am at the moment, and I think I passed with flying colours.”
He insists that his wicket-keeping is not affecting his batting, and is confident the solid starts he has been getting will materialise into commanding scores. His highest contribution since taking over the gloves is 47 against England at Headingley, with a string of totals in the forties.
“It has nothing to do with the wicketkeeping,” de Villiers stressed. “It has nothing to do with my energy levels or anything of that sort. I haven’t been able to push through, it’s as simple as that. I felt really good in the last game, hopefully I will get the chance in the next match.”