Having led South Africa to an innings victory over Zimbabwe in less than two days, AB de Villiers said on Wednesday that he loves day/night Test cricket but added that teams are going to have to adapt quickly to the different demands posed by playing under floodlights with the pink ball.
“There’s definitely room for it, personally I loved playing it, but like any format, you’ve got to adapt and find the game plans and strategies to get through that hour-and-a-half under lights when it’s very difficult to bat. To be honest, Zimbabwe had the worse of conditions, the pitch really spiced up under lights and things may have been a bit different if we had bowled first,” De Villiers said at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday after the tourists had been bundled out for just 68 and 121 to lose by an innings and 120 runs.
“As a batsman, you need to tighten up, leave well and try and survive. It’s more about mindset and awareness. It’s like when the red ball starts reversing, it can come out of nowhere and happens quickly, or when a pitch starts getting up-and-down. It’s not a bad thing, it meant there was a bit more positive batting in the day and four-day, day/night cricket is definitely exciting, there’s a lot happening,” De Villiers said.
Going into a much tougher challenge next week against India, De Villiers said the team were pleased with what they achieved in Port Elizabeth despite the game being farcically one-sided.
“We took a lot out of the game. The batsmen toiled hard on a pitch that seamed around the whole game and for the bowlers it was really nice that we were able to enforce the follow-on, to get some overs under the belt. They got some nice results and you can’t buy wickets in the nets.
“I’m really happy with the work done, but we will need to work hard before the India Tests. In terms of preparation, it was good that everyone got a bit of workload and was able to get into form. Every player got an opportunity to perform and the guys are in good form,” De Villiers said.
Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak said his board need to prioritise Test cricket in order to avoid such humiliations in future.
“Our lack of Test cricket definitely has an impact. There is maybe an argument for us to focus more on the shorter formats because we’ve shown we can compete in white-ball cricket, we’re a lot more proficient in that because we have the resources and skills for it.
“But we need to play more than three or four Tests a year, we need eight or more in order to compete against the top three or four teams. I know we have to earn the right to do that, but hopefully Afghanistan and Ireland coming into the Test fold will give us the opportunity to play a lot more Tests,” Streak said.