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Johannesburg – Proteas' skipper AB de Villiers believes South Africa will take several positives from their English summer tour after his team's impressive display against England in the final One-Day International (ODI) at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
Hashim Amla piled on the runs once again as he led South Africa to a series-levelling seven-wicket win in the fifth ODI (one game was rained out and declared a draw).
“There was a little bit of pressure; it was a big game for us,” De Villiers said after the match.
“The players showed a lot of character to perform under the pressure and I'm unbelievably proud, it is something to hold on to and to look forward to in the future.
“It was a very important series for us.”
After being set a modest 183 for victory by England, Amla responded with a superb 97 not out and together with De Villiers – who scored 75 not out – he shared an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 172 to guide the side to the win.
“We had a good series in New Zealand and against Sri Lanka before that – we didn't want to go down in England,” De Villiers said.
“It is never easy here (England). They are a good unit. They know their conditions well.”
South African Spinner Robin Peterson was the leading wicket-taker of the series with seven wickets at an average of 21.71, while Amla was rewarded for his fine form with the Man of the Series accolade, including a career-best 150 in the second ODI.
De Villiers said he was encouraged by many of the individual performances he saw, as well as some of the newer and younger members of the squad performing well under pressure.
“There is definitely potential there, the guys have a lot of talent,” De Villiers said.
“I would like to give them a chance going forward to really prove themselves.
“We all know that they can play, they are team men and they all bought into our thinking (of) moving forward, that's the most important thing.”
De Villiers also felt the series had given the squad a good lesson in English conditions, especially with the ICC Champions Trophy taking place in June next year. – Sapa