AB De Villiers. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
AB De Villiers. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

SA lost as many one-day internationals (ODIs) in four days last week as they did in the previous eight months.

Their defeat by England by two runs in Southampton on Saturday followed a 72-run loss in Leeds on Wednesday.

SA won 14 of the 16 ODIs they played before they went to England‚ a stretch of success that started on September 25 2016.

But AB de Villiers did not sound like a beaten captain after the series was lost on Saturday.

"Games like these give me a lot of confidence‚" De Villiers said. "I’ve seen the boys in the dressing room and they’re quite upset and very disappointed. But I’ll try to lighten the mood because I think we deserve that. We played a really good game of cricket today.

"More of today with a little bit more care in the field is‚ I think‚ what’s required."

They will get the chance to put De Villiers’s theory into practice in the last game of the series at Lord’s on Monday.

SA botched six catches on Saturday and their bowling‚ though more effective than on Wednesday‚ lacked consistency. A thrilling climax ensued, with Mark Wood defending seven runs in the last over‚ but SA were in the running only because of an unbroken stand between David Miller and Chris Morris, which yielded 62 runs off 41 balls.

"The boys played a great hand at the end to get us so close — I thought we had it in the bag," De Villiers said.

He was less positive about a conversation he had with umpires Rob Bailey and Chris Gaffaney after the 33rd over of England’s innings.

"The umpires felt the condition of the ball changed‚ in a way making me feel that we are responsible as a team‚" De Villiers said. "I was quite upset about that. I told the umpires we had nothing to do with the condition of the ball except for the fact that [Keshav] Maharaj bowled five overs on the trot from that end and the ball generally scuffs up when the spinner bowls a few overs."

Did De Villiers think the umpires had accused his team of ball tampering?

"Yes — I did feel that."

The ball was not changed and De Villiers was satisfied the matter had been laid to rest.

"No further steps were taken from both parties‚" De Villiers said. "The game was still played in great spirit after that; credit to both the umpires and us as a team.

"If I can give my five cents‚ I think it was just a bad Kookaburra on the day," De Villiers said.

TMG Digital

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