AB de Villiers, left, was impressed with Dwaine Pretorius’s performance at the Wanderers. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEE WARREN
AB de Villiers, left, was impressed with Dwaine Pretorius’s performance at the Wanderers. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEE WARREN

SA surged to victory in their one-day series against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers on Saturday‚ but AB de Villiers was focused on a bigger picture.

"There were too many 3-2 [series scores] in the past and we’ve had too many opportunities to win series 5-0 and 4-0‚" De Villiers said after his team strolled to a seven-wicket win with 18 overs to spare to go 3-0 up in the five-match rubber.

"We are all a bit sick and tired of not taking our opportunities and we are sitting here with another opportunity.

"We try to be clinical about every game we play, with a bit more emphasis and importance on getting results in every single game we play and not just trying to win a series."

Having stuck his neck out in no uncertain terms‚ SA’s captain remembered to wind it back in.

"I don’t want to mention it too often and I don’t want to make it our main thing that we play for 5-0 whitewashes‚ because that can backfire quickly."

But De Villiers had made his point: do not just win‚ win as well as you can.

Not that SA have not done so recently. They won seven of their last nine series across all formats and there have been whitewashes among those successes: the T20s against England last February‚ the one-day internationals (ODIs) against Australia in October and the Tests against the Lankans in December and January.

So De Villiers will be forgiven a twitch of tetchiness when questions at the media conference after Saturday’s game tarried a touch too long on the vast swarm of bees that held up play for an hour. "Guys‚ we are talking about bees‚" De Villiers said. "It was an annoying break. That’s all I can say."

But for Niroshan Dickwella‚ the Sri Lankan opener whose 74 was the highest score in the match‚ the bees were a handy excuse: "Our momentum was taken away by that break."

Buzz off‚ Mr Dickwella. There is no sting in that tale.

The "invasion" failed to affect Dwaine Pretorius, who produced his best performance in the four ODIs he has played, taking 3/19 from seven overs and earning the approval of his captain. "He is pretty accurate‚ he is consistent in his areas and he is open for advice from some of the senior players‚" De Villiers said.

TMG Digital

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