Read about all the developments concerning the Proteas in Sri Lanka, including feedback from their ODI series triumph, the lead up to the Tests and Senanayake’s ban.
AB de Villiers cut the shape of a proud man following his teams first ODI series victory in Sri Lanka. He spoke about the importance of the result and the mental affect it would have on the players.
‘It sends out a statement of what we can achieve as a team, not just for everyone out there but more importantly for ourselves,’ said de Villiers. ‘In all kinds of sports you have to get the confidence going within before you can start proving people wrong or right. For me the biggest step was for us to start believing in ourselves as a team.
‘We never gave up,’ he added. ‘The difficult part was when the nonsense hit the fan, we didn’t run away. We were there as a team sticking together and that is what it is all about.’
The Proteas move into second place on the ICC ODI Rankings, and continue to make important strides in the lead up to next year’s World Cup. One of the most pleasing aspects is that the team is learning to win in pressure situations.
‘We came into this series knowing that we hadn’t won one here before so we knew that it would be a lot of hard work,’ he said. ‘Sri Lanka have been playing amazing cricket of late, winning the Asia Cup and then an away ODI Series in England and they seemed to be very hungry to keep raising that bar.
‘We had a few heart-to-heart sessions and hard talks in between but ultimately it comes down to a lot of hard work,’ he continued. ‘We were under the pump in the first 10 overs with the ball in hand and the way we came back pleased me a lot, all the hard work was worth it at the end of the day.’
The ODI skipper took the final match of the series away from the hosts with a fluent hundred. However, de Villiers doesn’t rate the innings in alien conditions as his best knock.
‘Succeeding under the pressure that was on us knowing that 300 would be a winning score was probably worth more,’ he said. ‘I felt like I still had too many dot balls and was looking for boundaries too often, in a perfect world obviously I would want less. I really enjoyed the innings, it was not my best but probably in my top five.’
The big news ahead of the Test series is that off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake has been banned from bowling in international cricket, after his action was found to be illegal. A bio-mechanical assessment in Cardiff confirmed that his elbow exceeds the allowed 15-degree flex limit.
The other notable change to the Sri Lankan ranks see’s 29-year-old opening batsman Upul Tharanga make a return to Test cricket after six years on the sidelines.
There has also been some movement in the Proteas setup. Alviro Petersen, Kyle Abbott, Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl and Dane Piedt met up with the squad in Galle on Sunday. Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Aaron Phangiso, Beuran Hendricks and Jacques Kallis will traveled back to South Africa on the same day.
The opening match of the Test series starts on Wednesday in Galle. Here are the respect squads.
Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Dhammika Prasad, Chanaka Welagedara
Proteas squad: Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla (capt), Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl.
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