South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Paarl January 12, 2012

'Was attack, from beginning to end' - de Villiers

28

South African eyes had to be rubbed and blinked, skins had to be pinched and photographs had to be taken to make sure it was real. 21 for 9 is not something you see on a scoreboard every day. Or any day, except November 10, 2011.

It has been two months and a day since those figures appeared on the scoreboard and already an arguably more incredulous feat has been achieved. When Sri Lanka teetered on 13 for 6, 24 for 7 and even 33 for 8, they were at risk of being bowled out for the lowest total in ODI history.

It would have been an ironic twist if they were, because they have inflicted the three current lowest totals on their opposition. Zimbabwe, who were skittled for 35 in 2003-04, have the lowest total, Canada, who managed 36 right here in Paarl in 2002-03 have the second lowest and Zimbabwe feature again, this time with 38. Sri Lanka now find themselves next on the list with their 43, a feat that will have them hanging their heads in shame.

AB de Villiers had a teasing glint in his eye when he was asked about seeing those numbers appear in lights but tempered his response when describing what it felt like looking at them. "It was good, the plans came together," he said. "I asked the boys to come in with the new ball and to strike. They really ran in as a force and it worked out well."

South Africa had not seen the Paarl pitch before they arrived to play the match, having chosen to train in Cape Town the day before. In scorching heat, they quickly worked out that an already dry, flat surface would need more than just an ordinary effort.

"We knew that we'd have to run in and hit the deck hard," de Villiers said. "That's the key on these kinds of tracks, then you can get out of it what you want. We did have a bit of seam movement, which we didn't expect, but we also saw Dale not clocking in below 140 kph. It was aggressive and we had intent all the time."

Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe put Sri Lanka out of the match faster than a rush of cold air does a candle and they did so using basic principles of bounce and seam. Morkel raced to career-best figures, a welcome turn-around from his sketchy summer form that has seen question marks arise around his role in the team.

"I started off slowly this season but I knew in the back of my mind that a special performance was around the corner," Morkel said. "[It came on] On AB's debut [as full-time one-day captain] and he a close friend of mine, so it was a special feeling to be able to do it now. We had simple plans that we wanted to execute and I think we did that well."

Morkel was not the only member in the team who was motivated to give that little bit extra for the new captain. Centurion Hashim Amla also had a welcoming gift for de Villiers, with the ninth hundred of his career. "He [Amla] is a rock," de Villiers said. "We made a joke before we started, when he came to me and said congratulations on the captaincy. I said to him, 'You will make a lot easier if you score a hundred'. Obviously he took that to heart."

With a squad that is firing with bat and ball, de Villiers' introduction to leadership was as smooth as they come. Instead of relishing that, he admitted to being a little let-down - he had expected more of a challenge. "It wasn't the test I was hoping for, I wasn't tested at all," he said. "It was all attack, from the beginning to the end. My real test will come when we under pressure. Tonight was really easy, but I know it will get a lot harder."

De Villiers could easily get lost in the euphoria of a crushing win, but he is making a conscious effort to keep his feet on the ground and make sure the rest of his squad does so as well. "I have played this game long enough to know that this is not the time to get excited," he said. "We've got another ODI coming up soon and we have a lot of work to do."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JChandi on January 13, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    What is the big deal!!..Australia bowled out for 47 by SA in a test match just before the SL series, how pathetic was that? did anyone talked about this much?? IT was a bad day for SL and De Villiers did his job well with the support of his bowles, his plan worked very well like SL's plan worked in 1996 WC, could anyone stop them in that WC? no, Sanath and Kalu even end few bowlers carrier so be aware as Amla says.."Sri Lanka will come back firing - as they did in the Test matches. They are a proud team with a lot of heritage" ..........don't forget "SL are a proud team with a lot of heritage"

  • AllroundCricketFan on January 13, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Well done to the batters and bowlers of SA. What a hiding for sri lanka

  • on January 13, 2012, 1:15 GMT

    I think Srilankan problem is mostly due to poor captaincy. Dilshan looked totally lost and out of sort. His own batting for this tour is really poor. He needs to lead from the front and pull rest of the time. I have seen him continuously failing with bat in all matches. Maybe it is time to replace the incompetent captain and allow some one to lead the team with courage and determination

  • on January 12, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    dont bost south africa, in future same day will come to, Iam waiting for the day, it is not far, very close,

  • RoshanF on January 12, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Agree with LeoE, that Dilshan and the selectors and the board should be blamed not only for this humiliation but also home defeat to Australia and a poor performance in the UAE against Pakistan. For a side to collapse like that two major factors should complement each other. Brilliant bowling and extremely poor batting. And that was what happened at Paarl. SA bowlers were not quite Roberts, Holding, Marshall and Garner to have collapsed like that. Put it down to poor faith in the captain, in the system back home and politics that is all pervasive in SL. Even in the last test, shocking though the SL performance was when batting, it was the unbelievably stupid decision by Dilshan to send in the Proteas having won the toss that cost SL dearly. He totally ignored the fact that the 2nd test had been won by putting the runs on the board and piling on the pressure on SA. BUT in spite of all that there is simply no excuse for SL s two 'stalwarts' namely Mahela and Sanga for their lousy shots.

  • stormy16 on January 12, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Great start for AB and was good to see no apparent impact on his batting which is most important. How much were SA able to extract from that wicket - the same wicket that SL didnt get a hint of movement or bounce! SA were lethal and simply blew SL away. it was a hit the deck wicket whcih SA did and got plenty in return. I thought the bouncing of Malinga was ugly and uncalled for. SL were down and out and to see the number one bowler continually bouncing a tailender at 140+ was just plain ugly. Its playing the man and not the ball, its arrogance and its the kind of thing that can bite you when the pressure is on in a knock out game. I have only ever seen Aus able to get off with this kind of arrogance, others have tried and failed - SA should know better than most!! It pays to be humble - it build no pressure.

  • on January 12, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    welldone south africa jst do ol 5match series done clinc sweep .....best of luck 4 others matches .......

  • shovwar on January 12, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @Shaannnnn.....Bro if u had followed SA"s games recently U wuda known what exactly they mean by 21 for 9.....2 months ago SA did this to Australia....yes 21 for 9...the same Australia are playing so good now. SA are hitting their stride slowly but not consistently. But they are showing what can happen maybe in a few months when they start getting things together...Maybe a new era of Fast bowling.....England are having a great run and consistent but SA have the X factor to surprise England....I cant wait to see how England does in UAE....Hope India starts to get their feet together against the OZs....the cricket is gettin better already this year....

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 12, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Congrats to SL for making history. Keep it up. this is another way to show ur name in the stats...lol

  • WeeBee on January 12, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    hmm! .. Awesome Performance from S.A. I really want SRILANKA to make a come back and make this series an interesting one.

  • JChandi on January 13, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    What is the big deal!!..Australia bowled out for 47 by SA in a test match just before the SL series, how pathetic was that? did anyone talked about this much?? IT was a bad day for SL and De Villiers did his job well with the support of his bowles, his plan worked very well like SL's plan worked in 1996 WC, could anyone stop them in that WC? no, Sanath and Kalu even end few bowlers carrier so be aware as Amla says.."Sri Lanka will come back firing - as they did in the Test matches. They are a proud team with a lot of heritage" ..........don't forget "SL are a proud team with a lot of heritage"

  • AllroundCricketFan on January 13, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Well done to the batters and bowlers of SA. What a hiding for sri lanka

  • on January 13, 2012, 1:15 GMT

    I think Srilankan problem is mostly due to poor captaincy. Dilshan looked totally lost and out of sort. His own batting for this tour is really poor. He needs to lead from the front and pull rest of the time. I have seen him continuously failing with bat in all matches. Maybe it is time to replace the incompetent captain and allow some one to lead the team with courage and determination

  • on January 12, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    dont bost south africa, in future same day will come to, Iam waiting for the day, it is not far, very close,

  • RoshanF on January 12, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Agree with LeoE, that Dilshan and the selectors and the board should be blamed not only for this humiliation but also home defeat to Australia and a poor performance in the UAE against Pakistan. For a side to collapse like that two major factors should complement each other. Brilliant bowling and extremely poor batting. And that was what happened at Paarl. SA bowlers were not quite Roberts, Holding, Marshall and Garner to have collapsed like that. Put it down to poor faith in the captain, in the system back home and politics that is all pervasive in SL. Even in the last test, shocking though the SL performance was when batting, it was the unbelievably stupid decision by Dilshan to send in the Proteas having won the toss that cost SL dearly. He totally ignored the fact that the 2nd test had been won by putting the runs on the board and piling on the pressure on SA. BUT in spite of all that there is simply no excuse for SL s two 'stalwarts' namely Mahela and Sanga for their lousy shots.

  • stormy16 on January 12, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Great start for AB and was good to see no apparent impact on his batting which is most important. How much were SA able to extract from that wicket - the same wicket that SL didnt get a hint of movement or bounce! SA were lethal and simply blew SL away. it was a hit the deck wicket whcih SA did and got plenty in return. I thought the bouncing of Malinga was ugly and uncalled for. SL were down and out and to see the number one bowler continually bouncing a tailender at 140+ was just plain ugly. Its playing the man and not the ball, its arrogance and its the kind of thing that can bite you when the pressure is on in a knock out game. I have only ever seen Aus able to get off with this kind of arrogance, others have tried and failed - SA should know better than most!! It pays to be humble - it build no pressure.

  • on January 12, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    welldone south africa jst do ol 5match series done clinc sweep .....best of luck 4 others matches .......

  • shovwar on January 12, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @Shaannnnn.....Bro if u had followed SA"s games recently U wuda known what exactly they mean by 21 for 9.....2 months ago SA did this to Australia....yes 21 for 9...the same Australia are playing so good now. SA are hitting their stride slowly but not consistently. But they are showing what can happen maybe in a few months when they start getting things together...Maybe a new era of Fast bowling.....England are having a great run and consistent but SA have the X factor to surprise England....I cant wait to see how England does in UAE....Hope India starts to get their feet together against the OZs....the cricket is gettin better already this year....

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 12, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Congrats to SL for making history. Keep it up. this is another way to show ur name in the stats...lol

  • WeeBee on January 12, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    hmm! .. Awesome Performance from S.A. I really want SRILANKA to make a come back and make this series an interesting one.

  • Lord.emsworth on January 12, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Well done De Villiers and South Africa. A win not to be forgotton!

  • sanjai_zequin on January 12, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Graetest debut as a captain... toss won match won got 50 of just 36 balls team scores 301 bowld out opponent for just 43 3rd biggest winning margin

    go AB go may dis b d start of a new era of a graetest captain

  • YorkshirePudding on January 12, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Congrats to the Saffa's, SL must be at an all time low as a team at the moment, what with the status of the team and the off field issues with the the Board etc. hopefully SA will continue and grind them down so that they are ripe for england in the next couple of months.

  • satish619chandar on January 12, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    Good bowling attack and steady batting.. This is what SA need.. Top 4 to play till 40 overs and they have good lower order to cash in most times.. They didn't this match but it is really tough to handle Malinga any day.. As always, SA impress but consistency is the point they are missing recently.. Wish they become top team.. They do deserve it..

  • Loyd4148 on January 12, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    Congratulations to AB and the South African team. It was nice to see Amla back in the thick of things with a chance-less century, and Kallis, well what more can be said about this guy. A true legend of the game in his own right! I always knew that Morne's special performance was around the corner and he showed in Paarl why he is one of the most threatening fast bowlers in the world, with his awkward bounce and movement, especially to left-handers.

  • Major_Hammad on January 12, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Congratulation to AB Devillers on superb & dreamy capitancy debut. Best of Luck in future also.....

  • shaannnnnn on January 12, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    21 for 9?? what is is talking about in article?/

  • Pablo123 on January 12, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Don't you worry AB - there will be plenty to celebrate in the coming years, this was just the beginning

  • on January 12, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    I love it when players are in jolly mood and supporting each other when one of them is not in form.

  • on January 12, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Kirsten and AB combo will be perfect for SA.

  • LeoE on January 12, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    SA should thank Dilshan and his selectors for sending SL's most succcessful test playes home. Samaweera,Welegedera, Herath and Prasad were outstanding in the recent test series. In SA or Australia it is simply not possible for new players - the so called specialist ODI players to settle in, after playing domestic cricket for two months. All the new SA ODI specialists collapsed in a heap. 60 for 6 at the middle of the SA innings. It was the test stars Kallis , Amla. and De Villiers who came to the party. SL cannot afford to have two teams for test and one dayers. Ask Arjuna Ranatunge whether he beat the mighty Aussies in the world cup final of 1996 by using ODI specialists. It was the full test team that played in that match. SL does not possess quality bench strength like SA or Australia. Samaraweera and co. were fully acclimatised and performing at their peak. Its impossible to request newcomers to fly in and hit the ground running.

  • SAcricFan on January 12, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    I would love to see Richard Levi replacing Smith and opening with Amla,with AB taking the gloves SA have a long batting lineup as shown lastnite with Duminy and Faf only coming in at 6 and 7, with this long lineup we can afford going hard up front,Levi is very explosive and if he bats for any duration of time (20-30 overs) then he will totally take the game away from the opposition...Levi could be SA's Sehwag...just a thought!

  • SAcricFan on January 12, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    A well polished performance lastnite,if SA can just play like this consistently then theres no doubt that they will be pushing for honours as the top One Day unit in the World at the moment,I would still like to see Smith replaced by one of the more upcoming youngsters like Levi or Ingram, there are plenty of good batting and bowling options at the moment for SA-exciting times!

  • on January 12, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Brilliant A.B. de Villiers and team . . . It is this kind of scene we South Africans want to experience at the World Cup final. We all know that you can do it, but when, oh when will it happen?

  • hashabjp on January 12, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    LOOK WHO THE REAL CHOKERS ARE...... One world cup, two times finalist and get thrashed from the hands of PROTEAS TEAM who have never done that. Its a shame people call PROTEAS chokers. At least they know they have never won a world cup but look at the team that has done so. Can someone change the meaning of chokers now. Happy for the new captain AB DEVILLIERS and the centurion who has all his centuries in winning cause ( Tendulkar might be very jelous of this). GO PROTEAS, WOULD LOVE TO SEE ANOTHER DRUBBING IN THE COMING FIXTURES.

  • on January 12, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    First impression is the best impression..Go on Ab...

  • Rahul_78 on January 12, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    It is official now. The T20 cricket has changed the way modern day batsmen prepare for and approach 50 overs and test match cricket. It has become hit and run. Hence the below 50 scores posted by OZ and now Lanka in international games. As the run rates, batsmens strike rates and over all scoring has gone up so has batting averages shrunk in tests and Odis. Earlier if a team found itself in strife at 20/3 or 25/4 the batsmen used to buckle down and at least try and play 50 overs and try and score around 200 runs even though in loosing cause. As atroctiaous as the shot selection of the lankan top order was it was disturbing to see the shot of the caliber of the batsmen Mahela played and how the tail enders were happy at swinging everything on offer from Pieterson across the line. The game is evolving for sure but for good or for bad is for every individual to decide and it will be detrimentle for the cricketing fans in future to follow or unfollow this beloved game truning into Baseball

  • Bruce_Robinson on January 12, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    I like AB's approach. You can see in the way he bats that he has a good understanding of the game but also the courage and skill to try new things (and pull them off). It looks like this approach is going to be carried over in to his captaincy. Of course, he said it best when he said that the real test will come when he is under pressure. Long may this kind of success last for him and the team, though.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Bruce_Robinson on January 12, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    I like AB's approach. You can see in the way he bats that he has a good understanding of the game but also the courage and skill to try new things (and pull them off). It looks like this approach is going to be carried over in to his captaincy. Of course, he said it best when he said that the real test will come when he is under pressure. Long may this kind of success last for him and the team, though.

  • Rahul_78 on January 12, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    It is official now. The T20 cricket has changed the way modern day batsmen prepare for and approach 50 overs and test match cricket. It has become hit and run. Hence the below 50 scores posted by OZ and now Lanka in international games. As the run rates, batsmens strike rates and over all scoring has gone up so has batting averages shrunk in tests and Odis. Earlier if a team found itself in strife at 20/3 or 25/4 the batsmen used to buckle down and at least try and play 50 overs and try and score around 200 runs even though in loosing cause. As atroctiaous as the shot selection of the lankan top order was it was disturbing to see the shot of the caliber of the batsmen Mahela played and how the tail enders were happy at swinging everything on offer from Pieterson across the line. The game is evolving for sure but for good or for bad is for every individual to decide and it will be detrimentle for the cricketing fans in future to follow or unfollow this beloved game truning into Baseball

  • on January 12, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    First impression is the best impression..Go on Ab...

  • hashabjp on January 12, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    LOOK WHO THE REAL CHOKERS ARE...... One world cup, two times finalist and get thrashed from the hands of PROTEAS TEAM who have never done that. Its a shame people call PROTEAS chokers. At least they know they have never won a world cup but look at the team that has done so. Can someone change the meaning of chokers now. Happy for the new captain AB DEVILLIERS and the centurion who has all his centuries in winning cause ( Tendulkar might be very jelous of this). GO PROTEAS, WOULD LOVE TO SEE ANOTHER DRUBBING IN THE COMING FIXTURES.

  • on January 12, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Brilliant A.B. de Villiers and team . . . It is this kind of scene we South Africans want to experience at the World Cup final. We all know that you can do it, but when, oh when will it happen?

  • SAcricFan on January 12, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    A well polished performance lastnite,if SA can just play like this consistently then theres no doubt that they will be pushing for honours as the top One Day unit in the World at the moment,I would still like to see Smith replaced by one of the more upcoming youngsters like Levi or Ingram, there are plenty of good batting and bowling options at the moment for SA-exciting times!

  • SAcricFan on January 12, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    I would love to see Richard Levi replacing Smith and opening with Amla,with AB taking the gloves SA have a long batting lineup as shown lastnite with Duminy and Faf only coming in at 6 and 7, with this long lineup we can afford going hard up front,Levi is very explosive and if he bats for any duration of time (20-30 overs) then he will totally take the game away from the opposition...Levi could be SA's Sehwag...just a thought!

  • LeoE on January 12, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    SA should thank Dilshan and his selectors for sending SL's most succcessful test playes home. Samaweera,Welegedera, Herath and Prasad were outstanding in the recent test series. In SA or Australia it is simply not possible for new players - the so called specialist ODI players to settle in, after playing domestic cricket for two months. All the new SA ODI specialists collapsed in a heap. 60 for 6 at the middle of the SA innings. It was the test stars Kallis , Amla. and De Villiers who came to the party. SL cannot afford to have two teams for test and one dayers. Ask Arjuna Ranatunge whether he beat the mighty Aussies in the world cup final of 1996 by using ODI specialists. It was the full test team that played in that match. SL does not possess quality bench strength like SA or Australia. Samaraweera and co. were fully acclimatised and performing at their peak. Its impossible to request newcomers to fly in and hit the ground running.

  • on January 12, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Kirsten and AB combo will be perfect for SA.

  • on January 12, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    I love it when players are in jolly mood and supporting each other when one of them is not in form.