South Africa’s stand-in captain, AB de Villiers has given the four-day pink ball experience the thumbs-up despite the one-sided innings and 120-run victory against Zimbabwe at St George’s Park on Tuesday. De Villiers says the novel idea brings in a fast-paced dynamic compared to the traditional five-day approach, and teams can learn to adapt to the varying conditions that affect the match throughout the day.
“I think it was quite nice,” he said of the experience. “ I found the batsmen were a little bit more positive. There were talks of declaring earlier than normal, I spoke to Gibbo (Gibson) last night and we started talking about declarations a lot earlier than normal. It encourages a lot more positive cricket, I enjoy that. I still enjoy five-day cricket but there is definitely an excitement to day-night Test cricket for four-days. It is positive, there is a lot happening, we all enjoyed it as well as the spectators, according to a Cricket South Africa Press release.
“It’s like any other format,” he said. “ You have to adapt, find ways, game plans, structures and strategies to get through certain times of the Test match. It looks like the last hour is tough to bat and that is an area that guys have to be aware of. We took some learning from that, it is an area where you need to tighten up as a batsman but on the other side, the bowler has an opportunity to expose the batting line-up. It’s a mindset and awareness of knowing what times are a little bit better to bat on and which aren’t. There is room for day-night Test cricket, we love playing it.”
De Villiers says the squad will take some experience from the match despite it lasting less than two days, with both the batsmen and bowlers building up on match intensity workloads ahead of the three-match series against India starting next week.
“ We still take a lot out of it,” he said of the match. “ I think our batters toiled really hard on a wicket that seamed around the entire innings. It sped up in the evening and we started losing wickets, so the guys will take learning from that. From a bowling point of view, it was nice to get them (Zimbabwe) to follow-on so the guys got a few overs under the belt, we bowled 70-odd overs consecutively which was good. Some of the guys got good results on wickets that you can’t buy in the nets. All in all, it was a good outing for us, we will go out there and work hard before the India series but I was happy with the two days.”
The squad will have a practice session at St George’s Park on Wednesday before travelling to Cape Town later in the week.
Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa on Thursday will name the squad for the first Sunfoil Test match against India, starting at PPC Newlands on January 5.