England v South Africa, 4th NatWest ODI, Lord's

We are under pressure - de Villiers

Andrew McGlashan at Lord's

September 2, 2012

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Faf du Plessis chopped on to his own stumps, England v South Africa, 4th ODI, Lord's, September 2, 2012
AB de Villiers said there was no excuse for the failure of their middle order © Getty Images

AB de Villiers has admitted South Africa's senior batsmen are not pulling their weight in the one-day series against England, and singled himself out as a prime example, after the home side took a 2-1 lead at Lord's following another unconvincing performance from South Africa's top order.

Since Hashim Amla made 150 in Southampton no South Africa batsman has posted a half-century in the next two games at The Oval and Lord's and both innings have struggled for momentum despite solid opening partnerships from Amla and Graeme Smith. At Lord's they slipped from 100 for 1 in the 25th over when Amla was bowled by Ravi Bopara, to 115 for 4 which meant rebuilding was needed, only then to lose their way again from 166 for 4 and finish their allocation eight down.

As at The Oval the key moment came when de Villiers fell to James Tredwell, this time stumped with his foot on the line, and despite a forceful 31 off 20 balls by Robin Peterson they could not post a total to seriously challenge England.

With Amla twice cut-off when set for sizable innings following his monumental display in the second match, South Africa's batting has looked light in the absence of Jacques Kallis - rested for this series. While that was with a view to the World Twenty20, it is also giving South Africa the sight of a slightly uncomfortable future although de Villiers defended the talent available.

"The guys who have come in, they can play," he said. "I've seen them win matches for their teams back home on the big stage in finals and stuff like that. But they are inexperienced and when you have inexperience in your team you need the senior players to take control, including myself. Getting out for 20s and 30s isn't good enough at this level it's as simple as that.

"We had the opportunity in our batting to kick on with some of our partnerships and that's where we went wrong today. That's two in a row and there's a bit of pressure on our top order now. We've really got to step up to the plate and make it count - myself included. We got into nice partnerships but didn't convert like England did."

While victory in this series is gone, South Africa do not want their batting to be dragged down ahead of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka; although Kallis will be back to bolster them. De Villiers said the players will discuss their problems before the final match at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

"We are under pressure and will have a batting meeting about where we can improve. I'd like to think the whole of the top six can play as a unit but we haven't been performing well. Going forward we need more partnerships, that's where you get momentum and we haven't had enough of that. We've had one partnership in every game. There's no excuse, the guys are batting in the places they feel comfortable."

For much of South Africa's visit it has been the England captains fielding the tricky questions, but Alastair Cook was able to reflect on convincing back-to-back victories which have turned the series around after a poor performance in Southampton that threatened to engulf the final few weeks of the season.

"Clearly after what's happened this summer, we could have let our heads go down - a bit of a case of 'here we go again'," he said. "We admitted we didn't get it right at the Ageas Bowl, and we've bounced back really well. We've still got a series to win but I'm very proud of what we've done this weekend in back-to-back matches. It's an encouraging sign that after a heavy loss, we've stayed true to ourselves and played so well."

It was another far from faultless performance in the field with two catches put down and a clear run out chance missed, but the England's bowler's sustained pressure on South Africa's struggling middle order throughout and rarely let the run rate get near five an over.

"We didn't quite get our rewards early," Cook said. "A couple of chances went down but what was really pleasing was we stuck to our task, kept trying to apply pressure and picked up wickets at crucial times."

Cook also confirmed that the extent of Jonathan Trott's hand injury, sustained after a blow from Dale Steyn early in his 48, will be known on Monday after the batsman has X-rays. Trott was in clear discomfort throughout the innings before falling lbw. If he is unavailable for the final match of the series it would open the door for Jonny Bairstow to finally get a chance to bring his impressive form to the 50-over side.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (September 5, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

With Smith and Amla batting patiently in the top, i think Richard levi should be given a try to uplift the run rate.....I think with T20 world cup nearing he should have been worth the gamble.

Posted by OceanSaffa on (September 4, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

The is no problem with SA team. Its work in progress. Is the bigger picture that is in mind. Whether they lose or not, the ultimate prize is the World Cup. Everybody is being given a chance. Miller, Ingram, Botha, De Lange, are all in mind also. Lets just enjoy the cricket

Posted by   on (September 4, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

I am in suspense by watching the selection in SA cricket.wher is the rockki r.levi???rechard levi should get chance for odi.albie morkel should be instead of elger who need more practice for odi.Team would be1.R.levi,2.h.amla,3.j.kallis,4.a.b devillier,5.f.duplesis,6.j.p duminy,7.r.peterson,8,j.botha,9.d.steyn,10.d.lange,11.l.totsobe

Posted by SaulB on (September 4, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

A recurring theme throughout this tour has been consistent good performances by an english batsmen called "extras". SA discipline with the ball has been a little poor. 23 in this 4th odi, and that could have been the difference in the sides.

Posted by Jester01 on (September 4, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

Faf needs to bat higher in my opinion and he should replace Smith who's batting like a raging bull, charging at everything. My ideal SA(ODI) side will look like: 1-Faf du Plessis, 2-Hashim Amla, 3-JP Duminy, 4-Jacques Kallis, 5-AB de Villiers, 6-David Miller, 7-Albie Morkel, 8-Johan Botha, 9-Wayne Parnell/Marchant de Lange(When fit), 10-Dale Steyn, 11-Morne Morkel... We can rotate Morne with Lopsy, Botha with Robbie/Tahir, Faf with De Kock/Ingram if those guys dont perform. Elgar is not a ODI player, he should only play test cricket. I wont risk Vernon for ODI's, he's just too valuable. He'll soon become the best all rounder in test cricket.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (September 4, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

RandyOZ: After clobbering England into submission in the test series, its no wonder SA are off to a sluggish start- a carbon copy of the last Ashes and ensuing ODI's.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2012, 23:34 GMT)

I think they should pick the Morkels for the final game inplace of Elgar & Mclaren.I'm sure it'll be a much stronger XI.

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 3, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

@Hammond, welcome back from your extended summer. You'd be happy you missed the test series. England were belted to all parts and shown up to be the #5 or 6th ranked team they really are!

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 3, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

After clobbering England into submission in the test series, its no wonder SA are off to a sluggish start. They expected a cakewalk, but with Swann dropped England have lost their weakest link so they aren't so easy. Still a very average team though so expect SA to come back.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

I am really baffled with this South Africa ODI Team Selection. Where are the likes of Levi, Ingram, Miller, Morkel? According to my ideas the RSA ODI Team should be one of the strongest given the have a team like - 1. Levi 2. Amla 3. Ingram 4. Kallis 5. De Villers 6. Miller 7. Duminy / Du Plessis 8. Albie Morkel 9. Robin Peterson 10. Steyn 11. Morkel. And you still would have players like Mclaren, Parnell, Smith, Petersen, Tsotsobe in the bench whom you can rotate with others when required. The team has experienced members like Kallis, Devillers, Amla with youth like Ingram, Miller, Faf etc.Even you can use the likes of Albie Morkel at no 3 for pinch hitting as well. Albie always comes only with 10-12 balls remaining with a pressure of hitting 6s in his shoulders. If they field this kind of side they can really become invincible in ODI format as well. But really feeling sorry with the team selection for this England Series.

Posted by tanstell87 on (September 3, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

Gary Kirsten just like he did with Raina is giving confidence to Duminy...he is setting Duminy to bat at number 3 in World T20...the only problem Saffers have is they are playing 2 or 3 batsmen & that's affecting them when one of the guys doesn't get going & make a big one...they have to play Faf at number 3...Duminy can come at 6..play Johan Botha & David Miller in place of McLaren & Tsotsobe.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Good that an England side without Swann, Broad and Pietersen and with an injured Trott can perform and beat the Saffers (who seem to be without a similar number of established players) Still not sure about Englands bowling though, essp Anderson and the second spinner. Still even with all these caveats it was a pretty convincing and simple win.

Posted by thebrotherswaugh on (September 3, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

@Hammond, another one of ya best - as ever, like most Pommy cricket fans, a few ODI wins on the trot and everything's smelling of roses, no problems at all - until the inevitable thumping in IND. Best team in the world - hahahaha!! Exactly how many World Cups have the "mighty" ENG side won in their "glorious" history - oh, that's right, NONE!! I wasn't aware that ODI's went to 3am in ENG, Hammond - but keep pluggin' away with that old chestnut.

Posted by Guernica on (September 3, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

GIBBS, @Lipoflegend....?? Have you been following cricket for the last few years? Why not bring back Sean Pollock too eh? And Kallis will obviously need replacing soon so might as well try out the replacements now. Levi has had a few good T20 innings on flat tracks but is un-tested in English conditions, apart from a brief stint at Somerset where he didn't do a lot.

Posted by uncanny on (September 3, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

I don't understand why ealger is in team? they were grooming ingram for one down and suddenly he is out of sight !! cant keep ealger only for his part time spin !! drop mclaren, bring morkel. Team for last match should be: amla, smith, AB, duminy, Faf, Albie, ontang, peterson, steyn, morkel and tsotsobe/parnell. It gives them gud batting power with two power hitters !!

Posted by SaulB on (September 3, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

The lineup is fine, but duminy must bat where he's supposed to, at 6. and if faf fails with the bat he can make it up with the ball if he's given the chance. David Miller and Colin ingram should be in the starting 11, I don't understand why they aren't, and strangely i don't think they were even a part of the SA A side that toured ireland.(btw The captioned picture is of Du Plessis not AB.)

Posted by Arthaurian on (September 3, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

However good proteas test side is, the 1 day side is just another story all together. they're talking about preparing for the next world cup, but they're without kallis, so whoever is in kallis' spot not going to play anyway so whats the point? ive said it once and ill say it again, smith must leave this 1 day team and allow levi to open. he scores way too slow, and he seems to find it difficult to hit 6's. elgar (if he's to continue batting at 5, 6) must be replaced by miller, mclaren must be replaced by a.morkel, faf (once kallis is back) must be replaced by ingram and this whole jp duminy batting #3 thing must stop, so must the elgar batting at 6 thing, i mean wth?

Posted by ChobeMonster on (September 3, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Take Amla out of the SA team and you have a very different picture for the entire summer. If only those catches had stuck...

Posted by hashabjp on (September 3, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

The South African team is just fine... they need to change the order a little bit ... My team would be Hashim Amla, Quintin de kock (Get him as a wicket keeper and batsman, Graeme is too much leg side and wastes too many balls to put pressure on Hashim and it will also alleviate the pressure of wicket keeping on AB.. we need AB as a batsman to win us matches... no wicket keeping for AB please), AB devilliers at three in absence of Kallis, JP duminy (the guy is pure class), Faf du Plessis, David miller (we need a power hitter), Albie Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robbie peterson, morkel, steyn. Go SA.. these small series don't matter. go for world cup... Also i am completely for shuffling of the batting order.. people need to know to play anywhere needed and also gives experience and strengthen the middle order. This can only happen if you give them chances with more balls and not mere 5-6 overs in the end. GO PROTEAS..

Posted by Lipoflegend on (September 3, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

SA is cleearly resting what tyey have, or building. Leaving out Kallis, Levi, GIBBS, Philander - these are game breakers in themselves.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (September 3, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

Kallis, Miller, Ingram, Levi, Philander and Botha - where are thou ??

Posted by Wallaroo on (September 3, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

Don't know why Saffas are too worried. South Africa have done the right thing leaving Philander and Kallis out and bringing in some youngsters. Of course there is always a risk that this will not work or puts too much pressure on the senior players to compensate. IMHO the Saffas have the potential of building solid teams for all formats and should focus on building rather than claiming a ranking. There is no shame in being 1, 2 and 1 in world rankings and even less if you achieve while still building. As much as it pains me to say, England deserve the no. 1 spot in ODI's and South Africa shouldn't see this as a slur on their capability.

Posted by Robster1 on (September 3, 2012, 0:48 GMT)

Kallis, Miller, Ingram, Levi, Philander and Botha - you would only improve this already good squad.

Posted by CrICkeeet on (September 3, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

Nyc display 4m eng bt sa can make 3-2 4m 1-2 down..

Posted by allblue on (September 2, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster I think you'll find it is the respective boards that set the schedule, the ICC just require a certain number of games within a time period. As to your point, I agree completely. We always used to have the ODIs before the Tests which worked much better. It whetted the appetite for the main event, whereas afterwards they can lack intensity, particularly from the side that won the Test series. As to no more bi-lateral series - I think the ODI format is well suited to a proper league table, everyone playing each other the same number of times home and away in a fixed time period with a clear winner at the end. I doubt the boards would be willing to cede their autonomy on the number of games they play though.

Posted by cover_drive12345 on (September 2, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

Although this squad is not full strength, they still have class but have not lived up to their expectations. They are really missing Albie Morkel (decent all rounder) , but I have a feeling he would be able to play a full match, but Proteas are resting him with the T20 WC coming up, just in case. I also think Kallis shouldn't come back to the ODI squad, to maximise his effectiveness in Tests, which ultimately is their current priority. Perhaps The likes of Miller, Levi, should be called up, and rather rubbish bowlers such as Tsotsobe and McLaren benched. I do think Philander deserves a call-up, but with the number of ODI's played in the modern game ( and the amount of time between each one) he may be prone to injury/overload, which could affect their Test Match balance, which I think is the reason behind his non-inclusion.

Posted by Hammond on (September 2, 2012, 21:48 GMT)

It's too late now, but England are actually showing that they are more than a match for South Africa. They are in reality the best cricket side in the world at the moment.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2012, 21:47 GMT)

I would like to have seen what would have happened if South Africa Played the ODI series with their test team....Dont understand what is wrong with Philander playing odi cricket, would strengthen both batting and bowling....doesent make sense to me. Or Use Richard Levi. The younger crowd, don't seem to know what ODI cricket is about. Anyways Goodluck SA for the last odi and the T20's.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 2, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

I think this is all starting to take a familiar pattern which goes on to reiterate my point of NOT having ANY form of one day cricket after a major test series. It completely BLEMISHES the results of the test format and also takes away the shine and achievement of the team that wins the test series. England won the Ashes in Australia recently and lost the ODI series that followed. Does that make their tour a bad one ? NO ! In fact the people who schedule these MEANINGLESS ODIs should get their heads together and completely get rid of them. In their place you can have my favourite format T20s. A couple of T20s just to finish off a strenuous tour would be the way to go in the future. ODIs should be restricted ONLY to the world cup every 4 years OR in the form of triangulars or quadrangulars. No more bilateral ODis please. SA did so well to win the test series and now these losses puts a bad taste for their supporters. Time to act ICC.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

Maybe if Kallis was in the side, it would be SA 3-0 now.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

SA team in all looks very weak in the absence of the Great - Kallis They should call up Vernon Philander for One Day as well In the Absence of Kallis, the SA team should look like :

1) Graeme Smith 2) Hashim Amla 3) Colin Ingram 4) AB DeVilliers 5) Dean Elgar 6) David Miller/Faf du Plessis 7) JP Duminy 8) Robin Peterson 9) Vernon Philander(if they call him for one days)/Tsotsobe 10) Morne Morkel 11) Dale Steyn

SA fans suggestion if any....???

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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