AB: Gloves not the problem

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By Patrick Compton In Adelaide, Australia

A refreshed Proteas squad had a long practice at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday shortly after flying in from Brisbane following a four-day break.

The players began their practice more than an hour late after their flight to Adelaide was delayed by a sub-tropical thunder storm that briefly closed Brisbane airport down.

They more than made up for the time lost, however, practising for three-and-a-half hours until nearly 7pm. Coach Gary Kirsten will be joining up with the squad on Monday after returning from seeing his family in Cape Town.

AB de Villiers welcomed the break – which he spent on the beach on the Sunshine Coast – saying the first Test at the Gabba had left him feeling drained.

“I feel mentally refreshed now which is the most important thing,” he said.

Given his well-publicised back problems after the T20 World Cup, it’s not surprising that he faced questions about his fitness. De Villiers gave an assurance that he’d passed his test – in which the Proteas were kept in the field for nearly five sessions as Australia scored 565/5 in 138 overs – “with flying colours”.

AB also assured questioners that his recent run of modest form, in which he has failed to reach 50 in his past four Tests, had nothing to do with his taking the gloves following the career-ending injury to Mark Boucher.

“I’ve felt in good form and full of energy; I just haven’t gone on to build on some of the starts I’ve had. I thought I played well in Brisbane. In the second innings I played under a bit of pressure and it was good to come through that. It was a test of my technique and I felt I was pretty solid. All in all I’ve taken a lot of positives from that game and I’m looking forward to testing my skills in Adelaide.”

De Villiers felt confident that the Proteas would choose a specialist spinner for the Adelaide Test because of the ground’s history of assisting spinners in the later stages.

“I’m not going to pick the team for you, but I’m sure we will go in with a spinner,” he said.

AB believes the Proteas did not err when they chose four specialist pace bowlers for the Test in Brisbane.

“I honestly don’t think the spinners played a big role in that match. Nathan Lyon got a couple, but that was more because of our batsmen taking him on than anything else.”

De Villiers was upbeat about the team’s performance in Brisbane, saying that lessons had been learned by the bowlers. He characterised the Gabba contest as a battle between “two really world-class batting lineups on a flat deck. Bowlers were having to work really hard to get wickets”.

De Villiers said Adelaide would be another good batting pitch, but he believed it would eventually take turn and become more “up and down”. – Pretoria News

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