Russell Domingo admits he will only have a better idea of the team composition for the first Test against India once he inspects the conditions at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali.
The Proteas wrapped up their match preparation in the drawn two-day match against a Board President’s XI on Sunday, and although beneficial, it was a tame test ahead of what is expected in the first of four Test matches.
‘The main thing for us to play a warm-up match is to get some time on our legs,’ Domingo said after the match. ‘We wanted the bowlers to get time on their legs and for the batsmen to get used to the conditions. We know that these conditions are nothing like we are going to face in the Test match but it was a good outing.
‘We will need to see what the wicket is like,’ he said of the team composition. ‘A lot of the rumours and media speculation has been around the wickets being very spin friendly, although Mohali doesn’t have that reputation. We can’t pre-empt, we will have a look once we get there.’
AB de Villiers last played a Test match for South Africa in January this year, but made a near perfect transition to the red ball with a top score of 112.
‘He is probably the best player in the world at the moment and he is in a rich vein of form,’ Domingo said in praise. ‘The most important thing was getting himself back into Test mode. AB hasn’t played a Test match since the West Indies series in January after missing the tour to Bangladesh and with us not playing many Tests this year. Batting for that long, leaving a few balls and scoring in certain areas was of paramount importance for him and fortunately he ticked those boxes.’
The lower order, who have placed a lot of focus on their batting skills in the build-up, also contributed, with Dane Vilas showing his potential with 54 and Dale Steyn racing to 37 off 28 balls.
‘We know Dane is an experienced player. He offers the team a lot, not only with his wicket-keeping but with the information he passes on to bowlers, he brings a new dynamic to that aspect with his experience. He has a good first-class record, he averages over 40 and knows what it is about. We are pleased with the start he has made so far.’