AB de Villiers hopes the Proteas can bat on to a substantial total on the second day of the Sunfoil Series Test match against New Zealand at Axxess St George’s in Port Elizabeth. South Africa finished on top with 325 for four at stumps on day one, an innings buoyed by Hashim Amla’s 19th Test century.
“ We haven’t thought of that,” de Villiers said on a possible first innings score. “We want to bat as long as possible and we believe that, if we can bat them out of the game in the first innings, it will put a lot of pressure on them.
“We know we have a world-class bowling attack so we hope we can put some heat on them early on in their first innings.”
De Villiers’ 51 saw him become the fifth South African to score 6 000 Test runs, however that milestone seemed a minor feat on a day highlighted by Amla’s century. South Africa’s leading run-scorer in 2012 overcame difficult swinging and two-paced conditions to carve out yet another century for the Proteas and his fourth against New Zealand.
“He is a wonderful player,” De Villiers commented of his team mate. “I enjoy batting with him, he is calm at the crease and we all feed off that. He is the rock for us at number three, together with Kallis at four; they are the best three and four in the world which is an important combination for us.
“The whole line-up feeds off that,” he added. “We feel like we have two of the best batsmen in the world in the middle there, so we feel like we can come out and just enjoy our game.”
Amla partnered in three successive partnerships of more than fifty with Graeme Smith (92 runs), De Villiers (86 runs) and Faf du Plessis (102 not out), which allowed the batsmen to capitalise on Smith’s decision to bat first.
“They (New Zealand) bowled really well upfront,” De Villiers said. “When I came in, the ball was swinging nicely and we were under some pressure; we could easily have lost a few wickets there but we stuck it through with Hash (Amla) and Faf (du Plessis) coming in and playing the way that they did.”
Amla (106) and du Plessis (69) will resume their unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership of 102 on Saturday.