Bring it on, De Villiers tells Aussies
AB de Villiers has dared the Australians to spout their worst when the Test series resumes in Adelaide on Thursday.
Asked at a press conference yesterday what he thought of the Aussies' apparent confidence in their ability to "get under the skin" of the South Africans, De Villiers had a snappy reply.
"They thought so in 2008 as well and it didn't really happen that way, so I hope we can prove them wrong again," he said.
The Proteas returned from the 2008-2009 series having clinched a Test series in Australia for the first time.
De Villiers appeared surprised to be asked about the intense "verbal attack" during the drawn first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane last week.
"Verbal attack? I must have played in a different game," he said. "There's always a bit of chat around. You do whatever you can to get a few wickets when the pressure is on. Whatever you can do to get an edge over the opposition, you will do it. But the verbal stuff and the chirps weren't too bad."
He was in no mood to agree that the home side had the better of the first Test, which ended with South Africa on 166-5 in their second innings - a lead of 51 with only four wickets in hand in the wake of JP Duminy's ruptured Achilles tendon.
"We weren't that happy with our performance, which is always a good sign. We are the No1 team in the world and for the No1 team to say they can improve is a really good thing."
The Proteas raised eyebrows in Brisbane when they neglected to pick a spinner. With Duminy out of the mix they resorted to bowling Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla when their pace attack could not get the job done.
De Villiers denied that the all-seam approach was a mistake but he expects to see a slow bowler in the XI on Thursday.
"[Adelaide] is more like the traditional Test wicket, where it's a good wicket for a few days," he said. "Then it starts turning a bit and probably gets a bit up and down.
"I'm not going to pick the team now but I'd say we will definitely go with a spinner," he said.
De Villiers thought he was close to ending the run of middling form during which he has failed to score a half-century in his six innings since he took on the wicketkeeper's role during the series in England in July.
"It's a little unfair to look at the stats," De Villiers said. "It's got nothing to do with wicketkeeping or energy levels or mental fatigue, or anything of that sort. I just haven't been able to push through. It's as simple as that."