Fast bowler Kyle Abbott targeted another superb showing of bowling at the death of the innings, as South Africa prepared for Friday’s second Twenty20 International against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Abbott’s telling figures of three for 21 – as well as a quickfire half-century from batsman Rilee Rossouw – stood at the fore of the Proteas’ convincing seven-wicket win in the series opener at the Adelaide Oval earlier this week.
The tall right-armer was particularly accurate through the closing throes of the Aussies’ time at the crease, which amounted to an insufficient final total of 144 for six. The tally would have read considerably larger, had Abbott not insisted on several challenging yorkers to the big-hitting James Faulkner.
‘Generally it has been an attitude towards bowling at the back-end. People pay money to see bowlers getting hit outside the ground these days unfortunately. To me it has been a mindset where I want to take it on. I know that I am on a hiding to nothing but on a night like in the first T20I, when it pays off, it feels good,’ said Abbott.
‘There has been a lot of training behind the scenes – and trying to keep that practice at match intensity. Bowling coach Allan Donald has been brilliant with that, we have trained at a high intensity by ourselves. It has been a part of the game that I have targeted to take on. It is all an attitude adjustment and wanting those last overs and enjoying them.’
With seamers Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander rested for this three-match series, ahead of the five ODIs against the same opposition later this month, the 27-year-old Abbott has been quick to pounce after opportunity knocked.
‘I look at the guys who are in the team ahead of me – Dale, Morne and Vernon. Their records speak for themselves. I am not going to walk in and knock them off their perch straight away. We are all here with one goal in mind, which is to play and win for South Africa,’ he added.
‘We are a family and that is why we tour well away from home. Every guy in the 15 is pulling in the same direction, nobody takes frustrations or personal grief anywhere else. I have control of what I do in this team, how I practice and how I prepare for games. When I play that is what I can control.’
The hosts, meanwhile, have drafted spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell into the squad for the remainder of the series. The final T20I will be played in Sydney on Sunday.