It’s important for the young players in the team to get through this tough period of results, says captain AB de Villiers.
South Africa are still licking their wounds after losing the series against England after they went down by seven wickets inside three days on Saturday. They also lost their No 1-ranking, but there is no time to sulk as they still have one Test to play at Centurion, starting on Friday.
‘It’s tough to lose the series,’ De Villiers told the media after the game. ‘There’s obviously still a lot to play for. It’s never nice to lose a series. I almost feel like all hope is gone, but I’m still the kind of guy that will get myself going for that last Test match and get the team going.
‘I felt we were in the game lots of times during the Test and just didn’t grab those opportunities.’
Kagiso Rabada was one of the few bright sparks and was South Africa’s best bowler throughout the match, while Hardus Viljoen made his debut and Chris Morris played in only his second Test.
‘It’s important for the youngsters to survive at the moment and get through this and not to give up. They are definitely gaining a lot of experience. If guys like Kagiso and Hardus and a few others get through this patch, they will become much better cricketers.
‘We are not the same side anymore, there are lots of different players. I believe our form of late has been pretty poor and it will take something special to turn it around. It’s important for us to keep fighting and to keep trying to find that mould of cricket we are looking to play, but we are a little bit off beat at the moment, that is for sure.’
Stuart Broad produced a superb spell of fast bowling after lunch as South Africa lost five wickets for just 12 runs as Broad ran through the top order. He finished with 6-17 and picked up the Man-of-the-Match award afterwards.
‘That was some of the best bowling I’ve faced from their whole unit,’ De Villiers admitted.
‘The conditions suited them really well and they made full use of that. They asked a lot of questions right throughout our innings. They didn’t ask as many questions in the first innings, I thought that is where we missed a trick, but this time around there were spot on, a little bit fuller in their lengths and they just asked questions all the time and the ball was moving around a lot. They showed some good skill and you have to give credit to them for that.’