Castle Lager Proteas’ batsman, David Miller, has credited his match-winning innings of 85 off 72 balls in the third ODI against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Friday to the hard work he has put in over the last 18 months. Miller’s career-best performance was crucial in the Proteas’ 56-run win, and further cemented his position as a destructive finisher in the team.
“This knock means a lot to me,” a thrilled Miller said. “It was really enjoyable out there, especially blocking out some balls and soaking it up. It was great batting with AB (De Villiers) as well, he was helpful and gave me a lot of advice. I think I learnt a lot out there.
“I also enjoyed playing a lot of the spin,” he added. “It was slow and turning a lot, for me the key was just about watching the ball, it was a great challenge.”
Miller says it was a strategic call between himself and Ryan Mclaren to wait until the last two overs before going on the attack, a strategy which paid off with 38 runs coming off the last 12 balls. His captain, AB de Villiers, was equally proud of his performance, but also commended the way the team handled the pressure of the must-win match.
“We have always known that he has the ability to turn the game around on any kind of wicket and its pleasing to see that coming through,” De Villiers said of Miller’s innings. “I think he has learnt a lot about his game in the last few months, and it’s great to see him perform like that.”
The Proteas’ three replacements all made telling contributions towards the victory, a trait De Villiers says comes from within the team environment. “I think we have a good understanding between the players sitting out, the guys who don’t play sometimes even put in more effort than the players on the field,” he said.
“All of them played well,” he added. “ Especially Lopsy (Tsotsobe) up front with the ball in hand. After losing out in the first two matches having to prove his form and conditioning, and coming back like that to show his skills was pleasing for me.”
The captain feels the squad will take a lot of confidence from the way they defended the low total of 223, and their reaction to the pressure situations. The squad held an optional training session on Saturday afternoon, with a few players eager to fine-tune some areas ahead of the crucial fourth ODI on Sunday.