AB de Villiers says the emotions he felt when reaching his ton against Australia on day three of the second Test was possibly the best feeling ever.
The Proteas were well on top at the end of day three, dominating every session.
De Villiers reached his century in the first session. His innings was sublime as he marshalled the Proteas’ tail to see them take the lead to 139 and end their innings on 382.
The 34-year-old controlled the Australia bowlers, hitting 20 fours and a six. He ended not out on 126, his first hundred in three years (23 innings). His last was a 148 against the West Indies in January 2015.
‘It was 10 out of 10. It was right up there with the best feeling ever. I was so relieved. I was very nervous in the 90s, I don’t think it showed. I was telling Vern [Philander] that I was struggling to breathe and my legs literally went numb,’ said De Villiers about reaching his 22nd ton.
‘It’s funny to hear a guy who has played 13/14 years say that, but it’s true. It really meant a lot to me to get that 100. I was constantly reminding myself throughout the 90s that it wasn’t about myself, it’s about contributing as much to the team as possible, that made me feel a little bit better.
‘The minute you start thinking about individual performances you sort of forget about the team. It’s difficult to forget about the team when you haven’t scored a hundred in three years, so it meant a lot to me today.’
De Villiers made batting look easy on a slow gritty pitch, scoring at a strike rate of 86.30, compared to Dean Elgar (57) who scored at 28.93 and Hashim Amla (56) with a rate of 37.83.
Australia bowling coach David Saker acknowledged De Villiers for his performance.
‘He’s one of the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world,’ said Saker. ‘That was one special innings. He played, on what it seemed, a different wicket to everyone else. Hats off to him. We still think we have plans in place that we can get him out. We just never started well against him.’
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