Monday, 21 January, 2019

South Africa hail ‘genius’ of AB de Villiers, pacers

Published on: 7:58 pm - Sunday | January 7, 2018

The “genius” of AB de Villiers and a ferocious onslaught from South Africa’s fast bowlers changed the course of the first day of the first Test against India at Newlands on Friday. India started the day like the world champions they are according to the Test rankings, but their nearest challengers finished on top, with India staggering at 28 for three at the close — losing skipper Virat Kohli for just five — after bowling out the hosts for 286. It was a remarkable turnaround after South Africa had been reduced to 12 for three by Bhuvneshwar Kumar inside the first half hour.
“They are a quality bowling attack and at that stage I was sitting there wondering how we were going to score a run,” said South African batting coach Dale Benkenstein. He didn’t have to wonder for long.  Counter-attacking batting, led by aggressive half-centuries by De Villiers and captain Faf du Plessis, and some wayward bowling by India enabled South Africa to make a reasonable total on a lively pitch before the South African fast bowlers struck.
Benkenstein praised “the class and genius of AB de Villiers and the tenacity of the captain”. De Villiers and Du Plessis put on 114 for the fourth wicket, with De Villiers in sparkling form as he hit 65 off 84 balls with 11 fours.  He showed intent from the start of his innings, hitting four fours off Kumar’s fifth over.
“That one over from AB changed the game,” said Benkenstein. “He made the bowlers worry about their lengths. That partnership got us back in the game and brought belief back in the change room.” Kumar, who took wickets in each of his first three overs, finished with four for 87 and conceded more than four runs an over as did fellow seamers, new cap Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya.
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