WHEN Proteas one-day skipper AB de Villiers, in the wake of a 180-run massacre at the hands of Sri Lanka on the weekend, remarked that there was no need for a sprint to man the panic stations.
An extension of that theme emerged again yesterday with the revelation (if one finds it surprising enough) that the South Africans won’t tinker with the balance of their bowling unit all that much for today’s second one-day international in Colombo despite being hammered during last Saturday’s on-field proceedings.
De Villiers is particularly keen on the use of his two frontline tweakers, Robin Peterson and Aaron Phangiso.
“I enjoyed the fact that we played a lot of spinners, even though they didn’t take a lot of wickets. It’s a nice style of attack for us,” he said.
“I think they both bowl well to left-handers. Aaron especially showed that against Kumar Sangakkara right at the death. Under a lot of pressure he bowled a really good over. I truly believe they have the experience and the skill – Robin, Aaron and JP Duminy, to adapt to certain batters whether they are right or left-handers, and I’ll try to bowl them at the right times.”
Phangiso’s steady performance was indeed one ray of light in a poor showing with the ball though De Villiers’ initial painting of the potency of the spinning partnership is misleading – the Highveld Lions stalwart received precious little support from his tweaking colleagues.
Hearteningly though, there seems to be perspective on Duminy’s role.
“JP is just a part-time bowler still, but he is handy, especially to left-handers. He’ll pretty much bowl in every game and he’s definitely part of our plans. We wouldn’t like to experiment too much with our side. I believe the best XI played two days ago,” said De Villiers.
One expected change is the inclusion of Lonwabo Tsotsobe, whose fitness concerns on this tour have been tempered by the legitimate claim he has to adding variety to an attack that lacked ideas at the weekend.
Hashim Amla remains doubtful after missing the defeat with stiffness in the neck and a late call will be made on his availability.
Yet if the bowlers are going to be supported in the field and the batters placed under less pressure to chase targets over 300, the ragged fielding display of Saturday will need to be improved dramatically.
“It was a bit frustrating to see us field like that but I think the boys have learnt from their mistakes. It was a long 50 overs in the field, something they couldn’t adapt to. In this game they’ll hopefully know what to expect,” said De Villiers.