SA 'better prepared' for second ODI
Just as many had suspected, AB de Villiers admitted that Friday’s first one-day international came “a bit too soon” after the emotional and highly charged test series victory was concluded at Lord’s just three days earlier.
“I was ready to go, don’t get me wrong, but everything happened very quickly after the test win and some things were a bit of a blur, so I wasn’t too unhappy that the first one-dayer was rained off,” De Villiers said. “It gave us the chance to be even more thorough in our preparations and to spend a bit more time studying the opposition.”
The prospect of becoming the first team to be ranked No 1 in all three formats of the game simultaneously continues to excite supporters and media more than it does the players according to De Villiers: “It would be a very nice bonus, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s not something we’re focusing on at all. I know it has been said a lot on this tour and is becoming a bit of a cliché, but we just want to keep focusing on the small details and the processes which have got us to this position. So right now all I’m thinking about is Tuesday’s game against England in Southampton and, hopefully, going one-nil up,” De Villiers said.
England captain Alistair Cook confessed to being “very surprised” when they were confirmed as the new No 1 ranked team before the Cardiff match and confirmation that the news had not reached the rest of the squad -- or has not sunk in -- was provided by England’s Irish batsman Eion Morgan on Monday: “The focus in our team is to rise up the rankings and build towards the World Cup and the Champions Trophy next year,” Morgan said. Higher than No 1? That is ambitious.
“One of our greatest strengths is knowledge of home conditions and being able to use that to our advantage. We have always done well at home but we need to improve our record when we go abroad,” Morgan said.
“Every team tries to maximise home advantage but it’s true that England are especially strong in their own conditions,” said De Villiers. “That’s why the test series victory was so special and why we are so keen to complete a double with victory in the ODI series. We know it won’t be easy -- we always knew that.”
De Villiers said he was “99 per cent certain” that the team would be the same as that which bowled just 33 balls in Cardiff before rain ended the game: “The pitch looked a bit dry so we might look at a second spinner but I doubt it.”
Dale Steyn (stiff neck) will not be considered once again and Albie Morkel’s troublesome left ankle has once again ruled him of selection as well.