AB de Villiers insists that there isn’t much difference between pink-ball cricket and other formats.
De Villiers made a decent comeback which included a solid 53 with the bat and a surprising stint with the gloves behind the wicket.
The 33-year-old had to step up on short notice as captain, after Faf du Plessis was ruled out of the match due to a viral infection, and was called upon to replace the injured Quinton de Kock as wicketkeeper for the side.
Talking to the media after South Africa’s demolition job in the first ever four-day pink-ball Test against Zimbabwe, De Villiers gave insight on the new experience.
‘I think it was quite nice,’ he said.
‘I found the batsmen were a little bit more positive. There were talks of declaring earlier than normal, I spoke to Gibbo [Ottis Gibson] last night and we started talking about declarations a lot earlier than normal. It encourages a lot more positive cricket, I enjoy that.
‘I still enjoy five-day cricket but there is definitely an excitement to day-night Test cricket for four-days. It is positive, there is a lot happening, we all enjoyed it as well as the spectators.’
He continued by giving his analysis on the four-day format.
‘It’s like any other format,’ he said. ‘You have to adapt, find ways, game plans, structures and strategies to get through certain times of the Test match. It looks like the last hour is tough to bat and that is an area that guys have to be aware of.
‘We took some learning from that, it is an area where you need to tighten up as a batsman but on the other side the bowler has an opportunity to expose the batting line-up. It’s a mindset and awareness of knowing what times are a little bit better to bat on and which aren’t. There is room for day-night Test cricket, we love playing it.’
De Villiers says the squad will take some experience from the match despite it lasting less than two days, with both the batsmen and bowlers building up on match intensity workloads ahead of the three-match series against India starting next week.
‘We still take a lot out of it,’ he said of the match. ‘I think our batters toiled really hard on a wicket that seamed around the entire innings. It sped up in the evening and we started losing wickets, so the guys will take learning from that. From a bowling point of view, it was nice to get them [Zimbabwe] to follow-on so the guys got a few overs under the belt, we bowled 70-odd overs consecutively which was good.
‘Some of the guys got good results on wickets that you can’t buy in the nets. All in all it was a good outing for us, we will go out there and work hard before the India series but I was happy with the two days.’
The squad will have a practice session at St George’s Park on Wednesday before travelling to Cape Town later in the week. The squad for the first Test match against India starting at Newlands on 5 January will be named on Thursday.