AB de Villiers says seeing Temba Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada perform together for South Africa at Centurion was one of the highlights of his career.
South Africa have unearthed two new stars in the Test team after Bavuma scored an unbeaten 78 in South Africa’s second innings, following his maiden Test ton at Newlands in the second Test.
Rabada was on fire at Centurion and claimed career-best match figures of 13-144, the best figures by a South African on home soil after his 7-112 and 6-32.
‘It’s great for Temba and KG [Rabada] coming through like that,’ De Villiers said. ‘It was clear in Bangladesh already that Temba had talent and he looked at home at this level even though he didn’t get a lot of chances.
‘We know how South Africa’s history has gone with racial issues that we’ve had in the past and to see two guys like that step up and just show what it’s all about is fantastic and for me to be part of that as a captain and to see the two of them perform together like that is one of the highlights of my career.’
On his own future De Villiers seem to have committed himself to Test cricket going forward and will almost certainly lead the side permanently going forward.
‘There’s no decision really to be made [about my future],’ De Villiers said. ‘I’m very excited about our future. I thoroughly enjoyed captaining the last two Test matches. Obviously the win helped a little bit, it always helps with the confidence so I’m very excited about what lies ahead.
‘I think a couple of changes was necessary. The guys that came into the side brought a nice fresh vibe and air of confidence. Obviously guys that had done well at domestic level. It gave the team a different feel and it’s something that we needed.’
Stephen Cook was one of those players and made a dream debut at the top of the order where he scored his maiden Test hundred in the first innings.
He’s not that old , he has still got a few years to go,’ De Villiers said. ‘He’s played fantastic cricket and he looked at home from the word go. He never looked flustered out there.’
De Villiers said he felt the team had taken a step in the right direction after the 280-run victory in the fourth Test, but admitted that everyone is under pressure to perform.
‘I never felt like it was panic stations, even though we haven’t won a Test match in nine or 10 games,’ he said.
‘Things came together a bit. We applied pressure for a little bit longer. Did the basics a little better than we have been doing in the last while. Those are the things I’ve been asking for over the last 10-14 days and luckily we got it right now. I truly believe it’s not that complicated. You just have to do the small things right and more often than not.
‘I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Everyone is under pressure. I’m under pressure after my three ducks. Some other guys are under pressure as well. It’s a constant pool of pressure at this level. You don’t just get given a cap, you earn the right to wear the cap and you earn the right to stay here for a long period of time. No-one is sure of a place in the side. I think Russell [Domingo] has always made that very clear. That’s the way we want to play our cricket and it’s nice to have competition around the squad.’