Sri Lanka v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Hambantota July 12, 2014

'A statement of what we can achieve' - de Villiers

ESPNcricinfo staff

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One of my top five best innings - de Villiers

Since the year 2000 and before this series, South Africa had won one ODI against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and lost 12. This time around, though, they registered a maiden series victory in the country, and that, AB de Villiers said, has upped South Africa's belief in themselves. Centuries from de Villiers and Quinton de Kock were instrumental in setting up a massive total of 339 in the deciding ODI in Hambantota, and the 82-run victory handed Sri Lanka their first series defeat of the year.

"We came into this series knowing that we hadn't won one here before, so we knew that it would be a lot of hard work," de Villiers said. "Sri Lanka have been playing amazing cricket of late, winning the Asia Cup and then an away ODI series in England and they seemed to be very hungry to keep raising that bar.

"We had a few heart-to-heart sessions and hard talks in between but ultimately it comes down to a lot of hard work. Quinton today laid the foundation upfront, which allowed myself and a couple of other batsmen to express ourselves in the middle order. We were under the pump in the first 10 overs with the ball in hand and the way we came back pleased me a lot, all the hard work was worth it at the end of the day."

De Villiers said the series win showed what the team was capable of. "It sends out a statement of what we can achieve as a team, not just for everyone out there but more importantly for ourselves," de Villiers said. "In all kinds of sports you have to get the confidence going within before you can start proving people wrong or right. For me the biggest step was for us to start believing in ourselves as a team."

De Villiers himself delivered a powerhouse performance in the final ODI, smashing 108 off 71 to propel South Africa past 300, but he felt he could have done even better.

"Succeeding under the pressure that was on us, knowing that 300 would be a winning score, was probably worth more," he said. "I felt like I still had too many dot balls and was looking for boundaries too often, in a perfect world obviously I would want less. I really enjoyed the innings, it was not my best but probably in my top five."

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  • Deepak on July 13, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    That does not simply say that u can achieve what you hope to.Still there is not much difference.The 2nd ODI is a case in point.De villiers squandered the advantage by throwing his wicket away.Duminy with all that experience still had a rush of blood and Miller although should not be blamed,did play a rash shot.A little pressure after a wicket and the batting still failed SA like it has before many times.As long as de villiers gives up his free flowing style of batting,going after the bowlers and playing responsibly till the end to see his team through and converting his 50s,60s,70s SA will still be vulnerable.And also Steyn lacked penetration and looked out of sorts when Perrera attacked him.I would not be anywhere near relieved or satisfied if i was looking to score major trophies in the next year.A long way to go.The only positives 1.The opening pair is settled 2.Ryan mclaren has been convincing in his role in the last few months 3.SA have Tahir in subcontinental conditions.

  • Altaf on July 13, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Biggest achievement for SA.

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    AB is simply a Legend - this era of cricket lovers are lucky to see this kind of batsman LIVE.

  • Sage on July 13, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    AB is arguably the best batsman in the world for me right now. I have met him few times and he is a wonderful ambassador to South African cricket and should have been the test captain too. His fearless approach for the game as a captain, fielder and more as a batsman makes him the best. It's no point using if or yet...if SL fielded well, the results would have been different. So many chances were given to SA from the first ODI. Amla and AB was dropped...then in the final ODI Quinton got 2 chances. Then came that majestic inning from AB got them through. Congratulation to SA for winning their first ODI series in SL. I hope SL will learn from excellent pace bowling how to construct an innings which they failed miserably. AB you are my best cricketer in the world right now.

  • Steven on July 13, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    Yea ab is me of the best batsman around he's the complete package whatever situation he finds himself in he can adapt and play according weather it's anchoring a innings or increasing the scoring he can do it all the best is yet to come I reckon the next five years we are going see ab play some breathtaking innings to add to the many he has played so far he's good to watch very proactive with his shot selection in the short forms he can go from ball one which not many players can do plus he can keep and he's adecent keeper definitely better then apart time keeper but he's awesome in the field to tough to know what to do there cos what ever he does he's so good at it now that dekocks on the scene I prob would let him keep so we can see ab at his best in the field but either option won't hurt the proteas good position to be in

  • Khehla on July 12, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    All hail the best batsman in the world. I remember a dashing young AB who had a full set of hair on his debut, that AB would score pretty 20s and 30s and frustrate everyone who saw his talent. At some point, many thought he deserved to be dropped because he's just not ready for this level after all. But this AB is wiser with thinning hair to prove it. He turns games, wins matches and is the most destructive batsman in the world, with a repertoire of shots that no one can match... Hail AB

  • Sello on July 12, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    Am I the only one who keeps on saying "one of AB's best" everytime he's in full flow? I don't know how many times I've said that already #Legend... This is huge step moving forward, however, I'm a little bit concerned when it comes to chasing these days. Our boys used to be very good when it comes to chasing totals, but lately things aren't looking that good. Infact, we lost serieses vs Pak and NZ @ home because they had us chasing more often than not, but these gentlemen are good enough to chase any totals, if their self-belief blossoms, they can beat anyone, anywhere no problem.

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