Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Colombo July 22, 2013

SA to stick with two specialist spinners


South Africa sunk to their second-heaviest defeat ever, in terms of runs, on Saturday, but AB de Villiers said he would seek to employ a similar strategy against Sri Lanka in the second ODI. South Africa's bowlers were largely to blame for the loss, conceding 320 for 5, and 137 in the last 12 overs, but de Villiers was particularly enamoured of the prospect of fielding two frontline spinners.

Robin Peterson and Aaron Phangiso bowled only 14 overs collectively in the first match, taking 1 for 80 between them, but had done enough to persuade de Villiers they were both worth sticking with. Both frontline spinners are left-armers and Sri Lanka are likely to field five left-hand batsmen in the top eight. The part-time offspin of JP Duminy is also available to South Africa, though he did travel for 51 in his seven overs in the first match.

With the R Premadasa pitch expected to play slower on Tuesday, having already sustained 82 overs of wear in the first match, de Villiers felt all his slow bowlers were capable of making an impact.

"I'd like to have both of the spinners in there," de Villiers said. "I enjoyed the fact that we played a lot of frontline spinners, even though they didn't take a lot of wickets. It's a nice style of attack for us. There are a few right-handers as well in the team. 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, to adapt to certain batters whether they are right or left-handers, and I'll try to bowl them at the right times.

"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. We'd like to stay as close as possible to that XI with the odd change here and there."

De Villiers also called for improvement from his side in the field, after a shabby showing in the first game. South Africa have built a reputation for being one of the best fielding sides in the world, but allowed the heat and humidity to affect their performance, de Villiers said, though the only dropped catch came as early as the first over.

"We're not the best fielding team in the world yet. We've got the potential, so it's a bit frustrating to see us field like that. I think the boys have learnt from their mistakes. It was a long 50 overs in the field and the afternoon was quite hot, which is not an excuse, but something new to the guys, something they couldn't adapt to. In this game they'll hopefully know what to expect and take a few matchwinning catches and a couple of run-outs. The bowlers certainly need them."

Hashim Amla has not been declared fit after suffering from muscle spasms in his neck last Friday, but de Villiers said he had recovered smoothly since then, and hoped Amla would bring some much-needed experience into the top order. South Africa are missing their most seasoned batsmen in Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, who have not come on tour.

"Hash is still not 100% and we'll have to reassess that at training, when he'll have a light net and then final reassessments tonight and tomorrow morning. It's important to start well, but also to stabilise the innings if we don't start well, which we also didn't do in that match. We got it wrong in both departments. I'd like to focus on the basics tomorrow and get that in place, even if we have a bad start."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Altaf on July 23, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    instead of Phangiso, would be good to take specialist bowler Tsotsobe. Not necessary spinners only bowl in sub-continent, look at record of Steyn, Donald, Pollock in sub-continent.

  • Lalith on July 23, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @EnglishCricket, i think they need to take a bit of Kasippu. Then they can spin the ball very well.

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    The Proteas have not got two specialist spinners, only one. Peterson has underperformed with the ball for a long, long time and is a liability.

  • javed on July 23, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    It definitely was one off day for SA they will bounce back soon and i believe botha is a very good spinner economical and a good batsman . SA need to use david miller initially he is one batsman who can change game in first few over similar to warner , gilchrist , sehwag . devillers should use ingram lower down along with duminy . trust me once miller starts to hit on srilankan pitches it will be hard for mediocure bowling line up of SL to hide .

  • sanjai on July 23, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    The current ODI team of SA are lacking the extra bite they naturally had... now they are worst in th field uunless AB and Faf, with bowl Only steyn n morkel are good and morris to an extent In batting AB and HASH are the only players performing an d also Miller

    SO SA can try changing their Bating order

    Hashim AMLA, FAf du Plesis, Colin INGRAM, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David MILLER, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Chris Morris, Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso this might work out fo south africa...

  • Rashmi on July 23, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    SA better get prepared for more spin....There is no way SL will play you on a fast track.

  • nuwan on July 22, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    How come they don't use Johan Botha anymore? He had a pretty decent cricketing brain for limited overs cricket.

  • Qaasim on July 22, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Which specialist spinners is he refering to !!!!! Aaron Phangiso is young and has a lot to learn and peterson and duminy are part - timers !!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    I'm sorry did you say specialist spinner ? We don't have any specialist spinners , by there own admission our spinners don't turn the ball much , they are more skiddy bowlers. Our spinners can hardly even turn the ball , I pray Tahir gets another chance is he is a much better option in my opinion.

  • Joe on July 22, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    South Africa don't have any good spinners. The ones they are currently using for this tour can't spin the ball properly.

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