De Villiers lauds England bowlers
After South Africa were skittled out for just 83 en route to a seven-wicket defeat that saw England clinch the Test series, AB de Villiers heaped praise on the visiting bowlers.
England resumed day three of the third Test at the Wanderers still 75 behind with five wickets remaining and had earned a lead of just 10 when they were all out for 323 before lunch.
But with the Test finely in the balance, Stuart Broad ripped through South Africa’s top order, producing a devastating spell which at one stage saw him claim 5-1 from 31 deliveries.
Ben Stokes, James Anderson and Steven Finn all chipped in with wickets before Broad rounded off the innings with a superb return catch, finishing with 6-17 before England knocked off the 74 required for the loss of three wickets, sealing the series with one match to spare.
“They bowled exceptionally well – I haven’t seen a team bowl well like that in a long, long time,” De Villiers said in the post-match presentation.
“They used the conditions exceptionally well and they were captained well by Cookie [Alastair Cook] in the second innings, there’s no doubt about that. Credit to them for playing well.
“There’s a lot still to play for. This was only my first Test match as a captain, so personally I’ve still got a lot of motivation to play good cricket. The team will definitely be motivated. I can’t tell you if there will be changes – I’m not sure yet.
“We’ll have to go and talk to the selectors and have a few good meetings. I don’t think there’s a lot of issues with the squad we have here, we just need to play better cricket and more consistent cricket.”
A shining light in South Africa’s defeat was the performance of Kagiso Rabada, who took his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests in England’s first innings.
“I’m very happy for him,” De Villiers added. “He’s a very bright talent for us and he’s a big part of our future, so we’ve got to look after him really well and I’m happy with the way he performed in this game.”