India vs South Africa: AB de Villiers changed momentum for Proteas, says hosts' batting coach

Dale Benkenstein credited AB de Villiers for changing the momentum as South Africa managed 286 after tottering at 12 for 3 on the 1st day of the first Test.

PTI, January 06, 2018

Cape Town: South Africa batting coach Dale Benkenstein has credited AB de Villiers for changing the momentum as South Africa managed 286 after tottering at 12 for 3 on the opening day of the first Test against India.

"At 12/3, it was not the best feeling as a batting coach. I was thinking of taking an Uber and leaving for the hotel because I didn't know how we were going to score runs on this wicket," Benkenstein said after the day's play.

South African batsman AB de Villiers plays a shot during the first day of the day night Test cricket match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at St. George's Park Cricket Ground in Port Elizabeth on December 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

File photo of AB de Villiers. AFP

"They (India) are a quality bowling attack. The class and genius of AB and the tenacity of our captain (Faf du Plessis) changed the momentum of the game, or rather that innings (from AB)," said Benkenstein.

"That one over (when de Villiers scored 17 runs off Bhuvneshwar) was a game-changer. It was definitely the genius of AB. You cannot tell him how to bat as a coach. It made the bowlers worry about their lengths and that partnership of 100 runs got us back in the game. It brought belief back in the change room," he said.

South Africa were again reduced to 142 for 5 but lower middle order also contributed well.

"It was a tough decision to bat first. Conditions were such that we would have liked to play an extra batsman. With AB and Faf back, we had our top six batsmen, so we wanted to go with our best bowling attack. As a group we felt this was the best team," said the former middle-order batsman.

"I am always encouraging our bowlers to bat well. I tell them that three of them are our all-rounders. Most of them can actually bat. And it was really vital that the runs they scored helped us. It is encouraging to have a game plan for such situations. Those runs will give us a cushion later in the game," he added.

On comeback man Dale Steyn, Benkenstein said: "Steyn bowled beautifully. He has done a lot of hard work to get fit and come back. That one wicket will do wonders for him. His pace was up to what he normally bowls with the new ball and he will probably crank it up with the older ball.

"Hopefully, he will stay fit and his body will hold through this series. From a mental point of view, that was a massive four overs he bowled and it is a huge benefit for us," he added.

Published Date: January 06, 2018 | Updated Date: January 06, 2018

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5313 121
2 South Africa 4484 115
3 Australia 4174 104
4 New Zealand 3489 100
5 England 4829 99
6 Sri Lanka 4374 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 7594 122
2 South Africa 6911 117
3 England 7102 116
4 New Zealand 6782 115
5 Australia 6376 112
6 Pakistan 4877 96
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3272 126
2 Australia 2513 126
3 India 4211 120
4 New Zealand 3013 116
5 West Indies 2538 115
6 England 2402 114