AB: Series win shows squad potential

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South Africa ODI skipper AB de Villiers says the first-ever ODI series win in Sri Lanka was an encouraging glimpse of their potential.

South Africa ODI skipper AB de Villiers says the first-ever ODI series win in Sri Lanka, achieved in Hambantota on Saturday, was an encouraging glimpse of the potential within the squad.

The Proteas beat the odds against a strong Sri Lankan team at home, and in the process banished some psychological barriers in testing situations. Last year, Sri Lanka won the ODI series four-one.

This time, the Proteas started off with a win in the first match, before losing massively in the second. But in the decider De Villiers and Quinton de Kock scored tons and the visitors won by 82 runs.

De Villiers said after the match: "It sends out a statement of what we can achieve as a team, not just for everyone out there but more importantly for ourselves.

"In all kinds of sports you have to get the confidence going within before you can start proving people wrong or right. For me the biggest step was for us to start believing in ourselves as a team.

"We never gave up. The difficult part was when the nonsense hit the fan, we didn't run away. We were there as a team sticking together and that is what it is all about."

The Proteas moved into second place on the ICC ODI Rankings, and continued to make important strides after securing an away series win against Pakistan, and a win against India at home.

The skipper added: "We came into this series knowing that we hadn't won one here before so we knew that it would be a lot of hard work. Sri Lanka have been playing amazing cricket of late, winning the Asia Cup and then an away ODI Series in England and they seemed to be very hungry to keep raising that bar.

"We had a few heart-to-heart sessions and hard talks in between but ultimately it comes down to a lot of hard work. Quinton today laid the foundation upfront, which allowed myself and a couple of other batsmen to express ourselves in the middle order.

"We were under the pump in the first 10 overs with the ball in hand and the way we came back pleased me a lot, all the hard work was worth it at the end of the day."

Surprisingly, De Villiers felt his 71-ball century was "not his best", but gave himself credit for the way he responded to the pressure in search of a match-winning total.

"Succeeding under the pressure that was on us knowing that 300 would be a winning score was probably worth more," he said.

""I felt like I still had too many dot balls and was looking for boundaries too often, in a perfect world obviously I would want less. I really enjoyed the innings, it was not my best but probably in my top five."

The Test squad will travel to Galle on Sunday ahead of the opening match starting on Wednesday. Alviro Petersen, Kyle Abbott, Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl and Dane Piedt will meet up with the squad in Galle on Sunday. Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Aaron Phangiso, Beuran Hendricks and Jacques Kallis will travel back to South Africa on Sunday.

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