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“We have to go in with the attitude that we are not going to lose this series”
South Africa vice-captain AB de Villiers has admitted that the Proteas “dipped big time” in their first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
In order to ensure they don’t lose their first Test series since being defeated by Sri Lanka in 2006, de Villiers called on the team to change their mindset and attitude towards the second Test in Dubai.
“We were one or two out of ten [in Abu Dhabi] compared to the standard we set and we didn’t play the big moments well,” de Villiers said. “There aren’t a lot of positives from the first Test so we need a lot of self-belief. There’s not a lot of time. You can’t run around for a month and hope to get better. Technical changes can’t happen but we need a fresh mindset.”
South Africa’s bowlers struggled to find the right line and length throughout the first Test, while their batsmen looked extremely uncomfortable against Pakistan’s spinners.
“They did the damage by getting big wickets up front,” de Villiers added. “And there were a couple of soft dismissals as well, including mine. Who knows, if I hadn’t got run-out in the first innings, Hashim [Amla] and I could still be batting.”
De Villiers also noted that the Proteas needed to find a solution to Pakistan’s “clever plans”.
“We are finding ways to fix the problems and we are going to try and get it right in the second Test,” he said. “We haven’t played cricket like that in a long time. We know if we don’t play to your full potential, there are teams that are going to beat us and if we do perform to our full potential we will come out on top.”
The 29-year-old also refused to use the unfamiliar conditions as an excuse behind the team’s disappointing performance.
“We just didn’t adapt quickly enough but there are no excuses at this level not to get used to things,” de Villiers said. “We would have loved a series before this or maybe a few more warm-up games but the best teams in the world believe they are ready no matter what.”
With the second Test scheduled to begin in two days, de Villiers has called on his team-mates to “go in with the attitude that we are not going to lose this series”.
“We dipped big time in the last Test,” he said. “And letting ourselves down is the thing that hurt the most.
“We have to go in with the attitude that we are not going to lose this series.”