Worcestershire v South Africans, Tour match, New Rd, 2nd day July 28, 2012

De Villiers wants unchanged Test side


AB de Villiers, South Africa's vice-captain, does not want any changes made to the team's starting XI for the second Test against England, which starts on Thursday. Despite strong performances from some of the reserves and the lack of batting time for Alviro Petersen and JP Duminy, de Villiers believes the team that won convincingly at The Oval should remain the same for Headingley.

"We won the first Test so whether or not some of us are in good or bad form we played well as a team. We would hate to unsettle that whole vibe that we had," De Villiers said after the drawn tour match against Worcestershire. "We felt in control the whole time, the guys played exceptionally well and we went one-nil up. It's really hard to change a winning formula, especially at Test level, when you are really comfortable with the 11 guys to go out there in the field. I would like to see the same team coming out in the next Test."

Although South Africa have a tendency to lapse after big win, and last won two consecutive Tests in a series against Bangladesh four years ago, de Villiers also thinks they don't have to do much altering to their gameplan. "We must just go out there and play as we did in the first Test match," he said. "It was good enough there and I can't see why it won't be good enough again."

Despite pushing for consistency, de Villiers has warned against complacency and said South Africa are motivated by what they have achieved so far to avoid it. "We know England are going to come out harder. We must put emphasis on the big moments of the game," he said. "We are expecting big pressure from them early on in the second Test and it's a matter of just fighting through it. We've worked hard to get the one-nil lead and we don't want to give it away."

After the two-day match at New Road, the spotlight will be on opening batsmen Petersen, who scored 10 and 11 in two innings, bringing his tally to 42 in England. He is the only one of the South Africa line-up who has yet to register a half-century on tour, with JP Duminy doing it at Taunton and Jacques Rudolph getting there at Canterbury.

Petersen's Test form had not taken the dip his current tour suggests, however. He last scored a century two matches ago, in Wellington, and de Villiers, as one of the leaders of team, is not concerned about his lack of runs so far. "He is a class player and so are the other guys who are not in form at the moment," he said. "It's a game of momentum: sometimes it's with you, sometimes it's not."

Most of the rest of the batsmen have not had enough opportunity to see whether the momentum de Villiers speaks about is on their side, including the man himself. Having taken over the wicketkeeping gloves after Mark Boucher's retirement, de Villiers' batting is an area being closely watched, because of his history of back spasms.

He did not bat The Oval but scored 80 against Worcestershire and kept for a brief period of time, and he said he is trying to marry the two elements of his game. "I don't believe the keeping is going to take anything out of my batting. I really like watching the ball and being part of the game the whole time," he said. "I can see different lines and I can pick up the bounce of the wicket quite quickly."

De Villiers dropped a catch off Imran Tahir and gave away eight byes when the legspinnner was bowling, which could be one of the "areas of concern" he said he had spent the last few days working on. He was careful not to isolate Tahir as the person he finds it most challenging to keep to and instead said he is getting better at being behind the stumps to the spinner.

"I like to think I pick him. I can definitely see his googly," he said. "At The Oval, there were big rough patches, especially to the left-handers and I found that difficult. I might be a little bit hard on myself though, because I think any keeper would have struggled there. I face him all the time in the nets and I just watch the ball as it comes out of his hand."

Although South Africa's future wicketkeeping plans have not been spoken about De Villiers said he "wants to become a better keeper and give us the option of maybe using me long term". Back-up gloveman Thami Tsolekile, who was nationally contracted in March, is also an option. He played at Worcestershire, where he kept wicket for most of the innings and took two catches.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mathew on July 30, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    SA will be unchanged, Eng will now have to make a change. I am going to stick my neck out and say they will go for 5-1-5. They shouldn't debut JT against SA (just too much of an ask) and withoiut Bopara's limit overs it will put too much on the 4. Finn is the best player we have in the wings and 1-0 down why not go for broke.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2012, 17:57 GMT

    I don't envy James Taylor. He has to debut against arguably the best fast bowling attack of this generation. As for England, they need to replace Broad with Finn and keep Bresnan. Broad was lethargic, listless and was bowling really poorly at 10 mph slower than his normal average. Also Bresnan can reverse unlike Broad and given SA's batting strength, England will need to bowl a lot of overs with the old ball. So, someone who can reverse would be huge help with old ball partnering with Swann. Also, Strauss needs to start learning how to play spin bowling. A player like him in the Warne-Murali era wouldn't have become an English opener at all. Atherton-Hussain were way better batsmen than Strauss. Strauss is lucky that the current Aussie contingent is even more pathetic than his team and he doesn't have to play Steve Waugh and his meanies unlike his predecessors like Atherton and Hussain.

  • Nicholas on July 29, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Only concern for SA should be Alviro Petersen. Do they not have any other openers? I used to love watching Gibbs open with Smith.

  • Steven on July 29, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Well said @Xolile. landl47 - SA's lack of depth?? What happens if Cook and Trott go early? England fail.. I'd be more concerned with Swann, Bresnan, Broad, Bopara ( the world beater coming of age only 2 weeks back )........ Only Prior has balls.. But yes, he's of SA origin too.....

  • Deon on July 29, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    I was at the Oval and had a clear view of Rudolph's dropped catch. The ball travelled flat, fast and low to Rudolph's left. It would have been a stunner of a catch if he held on. De Villiers' drop of Tahir bowling was also difficult. To start making changes to a winning team on the basis of these two events would be a mistake. Also, you cannot judge a batsman based on one or two matches. Not long ago Kallis got a pair and went wicketless in a match against Sri Lanka in Durban. After that match the media suggested that he was out of form and no longer the force he once was. But in four matches since then he has scored 525 runs at an average of 131.25, and taken 7 wickets at an average of 20.29. As a result he has regained the No1 spot in the all-rounder rankings.

  • Sello on July 29, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    I don't really see a reason why we should change anything after the 1st Test win. @landl47 what about England's lack of depth? Not the one RandyOZ mentioned, but the batting. There are 2 key England wickets: Cook and Trott, I won't mention KP because he's careless(and I like it). Get those two early and England won't reach 270. Bell isn't much of threat because if he bats beautifully he'll give his wicket away between 40 and 60. Prior is an attacking batsman and a quick 20 or 40 then he's gone. The tail has nothing to offer against this SA bowling line up.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    South Africas lack of depth? Whats that, like their inability to play spin? Duminy has a first class average of 50 on South African wickets. He is coming in at 7. There is no need to drop players, esp when many never even had a bat.

    As for players knocking on the door, there are plenty. Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Riley Roussouw, Ryan McLaren and many others scoring some big runs and taking wickets in the domestic scene. South Africa has more depth than any other country at the moment. Many of the tourists are passengers for political quotas, they are not our best players, and they are not a representation of whats in the cupboard.

    Why do you think Morkel was sent out? When Boucher went, it was a chance to give the gloves to AB and to have a genuine all rounder in the side if they decide not to play Duminy.

    SA could go into the next test with 5 seamers, a spinner and bat right down to 9 by making one chance.

    No depth there at all!

  • Randolph on July 29, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    @landl - what about England's lack of depth? And I am not talking about reserves, the lack of depth there is well documented, I am talking about lack of depth on the field. 2 wickets in a whole test!

  • Mathew on July 29, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    Trying my hardest to work Finn into Eng's team, and I feel he is a must since we are 1-0 down but no idea who he will replace. I hope it is Bopara, but this depends on Broads fitness/form. If they get rid of Bresnan I am going to go nuts, what more does the guy have to do. I suspect they may go for the same side though and that Broad/Swann don't have a collective nightmare again. Big problem at 6 for us, if there is no better batsman than Ravi then get another bowler in.

  • John on July 29, 2012, 2:25 GMT

    Petersen was the only one of the South African team who could be said to have failed inthe first test, although Duminy didn't do much and Rudolph's only contribution was to drop a catch. Why would SA change anything? It's not as though they have a bunch of reserves hammering on the door. The only player who might have a case for inclusion is Albie Morkel and since he's only there as a replacement it's hard to see, short of an injury to one of the first choices, that SA would put him in the side. England has to exploit SA's lack of depth; as long as only the stars bat and Steyn and Morkel take most of the wickets, SA is golden.

  • No featured comments at the moment.