Proteas won't be backing down - AB

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iol spt may4 ab Gallo Images Proteas vice-captain, AB de Villiers, says the squad is hungry and committed to finishing the tour off with a win, and will not back off despite the fact that the series can't be lost. Photo: Lee Warren

Johannesburg - The Proteas have descended from the high of winning the first Test against Sri Lanka, and have shifted their focus to the final match starting in Colombo on Thursday.

Proteas vice-captain, AB de Villiers, says the squad is hungry and committed to finishing the tour off with a win, and will not back off despite the fact that the series can't be lost.

“It was great to have had a day off yesterday just to reflect and celebrate an amazing and special win,” he said after training on Tuesday. “In saying that, it's not rocket science, there is a huge Test coming up. We would love to win the series 2-0, winning both the ODI's and Tests would be special for us as a team.

“It will be important for us to lay the foundation again on Thursday like we did in the first Test in Galle,” he said.

“I thought we started really well and it gave us the freedom to express our talent over the five days.”

The last three matches at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) have been high-scoring draws, but De Villiers is hopeful the Proteas will make the most of the conditions on hand.

“The general feeling in Sri Lanka is to bat first,” he said.

“In the past there has been a little bit of juice in the wicket in the first session. You have to make it work for you if you lose the toss and bowl first. From Sri Lanka's point of view, they would like to get a result from this match and so do we. I think both teams will play positive cricket. That is what everyone wants.”

De Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn were part of the Proteas' side that was beaten by an innings and 153 runs in 2006, a match which featured a world-record 624-run partnership between Kumar Sangakkara (285) and Mahela Jayawardene (309). This time around, the Proteas find themselves in a more favourable position heading into the match, and have shown they are equipped to deal with the challenges of playing on the sub-continent.

A series win would be the perfect start for new captain, Hashim Amla.

“He has always been a natural leader,” De Villiers said of Amla.

“He had a great start, I think he is going to have an amazing career as captain. He has all the credentials; everything that you need to be a good leader, the whole team is right behind him.”

Sapa


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